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90-car ferry Sealth is serving the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route

The 90-car ferry Sealth began service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route on Oct. 26. This means a slight reduction in vehicle capacity for the route.

Customers on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route should be aware of the reduction in capacity, but the change should not inconvenience customers, Washington State Ferries reported. Customers are encouraged to arrive early for their desired sailings.

The Sealth is coming out of a nine-week drydock period for planned maintenance. The 144-car Elwha headed south for three days of service on the Seattle/Bremerton route, and then into drydock until early December for its scheduled maintenance. The other vessels currently serving the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route are the 144-car Yakima and the 124-car Chelan, with the 87-car Evergreen State providing inter-island service.

"With a lack of back-up vessels in the ferry system, WSDOT must plan vessel moves to accommodate planned maintenance while minimizing impacts to customers," Communications Manager Hadley Greene reported in a press release.

"This becomes especially difficult during the winter maintenance season, when more vessels must be removed from service for annual maintenance and inspections."

WSDOT is the state Department of Transportation, of which Washington State Ferries, or WSF, is a part.

Ferry Advisory Committee member Robert deGavre of San Juan Island said WSF has agreed, while the Sealth is serving the San Juan Islands, to load up to 20 regular-size vehicles bound for Friday Harbor on the 12:05 sailing from Anacortes to Lopez and Orcas. The Friday Harbor-bound vehicles will off-load on Lopez Island for transfer to the interisland boat arriving in Friday Harbor at 13:50.

As a result, the 12:05 sailing will provide limited service to Friday Harbor during the five-hour gap in westbound service from 9:35 to 14:40 and will reduce the overloads on the 14:40 Sealth sailing from Anacortes.

For more ferry system information, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.

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