Letters to the Editor

Ferry Advisory Committee chairman explains fall schedule

Ferry Advisory Committee members asked that I provide you with a letter for publication that explains the changes in the new fall schedule that is effective Sept. 27.

Summer is nearly over, and the new WSF fall schedule will take effect on Sunday, Sept. 27.

There are several changes that everyone needs to understand. Most notable is that the last sailing from Anacortes to the islands, Monday through Thursday, will be at 7:25 p.m. That ferry will NOT stop at Shaw.

Please also be advised that the 6 p.m. sailing from Anacortes is NOT the inter-island ferry (that is a printing error); the 6:50 p.m. departure from Lopez is the continuing inter-island service to Friday Harbor.

The need for the earlier departure is a result of a recent U.S. Coast Guard requirement that all crews have an opportunity for eight hours of rest between shifts. In order to retain the 6 a.m. departure from Friday Harbor, it became necessary for an earlier departure from Anacortes the previous evening, hence the last sailing at 7:25 p.m.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, another ferry will depart Anacortes at 9:30 p.m., stopping at Lopez, Shaw and Orcas. That ferry will continue on to Friday Harbor ONLY on Friday night. Budgetary constraints don’t allow for expanded late night service earlier in the week.

This situation is regrettable as it changes travel patterns for many folks within our community. The county Ferry Advisory Committee is very aware of the deficiencies on this schedule, including the lack of service to Shaw after 6:35 p.m., and the complications created for school mainland trips.

Given the USCG ruling and complex negotiations on new work rules for the vessel crews, however, we are constrained to this schedule for the fall period.

We encourage you to read the new schedule carefully as there are other minor changes. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact your Ferry Advisory Committee representative as we will soon begin discussions on all of the schedules for next year.

Ed Sutton
San Juan County Ferry Advisory Committee


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