The Partial Fix

Posted June 22, 2019 at 5:51 am by

The M/V Samish approaches Friday Harbor - Aaron Shepard photo

Well here’s some good news, but sad­ly, not a whole lot… This is the fourth in the 3‑part series that became a 4‑part series mid-way through.

Part Four: The Solu­tion (to see Parts 1 through 3, click below)

Part One: The Problem
Part Two: The Cause
Part Three: The Solu­tion Prob­lem Continues

Per­haps “The Solu­tion” isn’t such a good title for this part. Maybe “The Par­tial Fix” is a bet­ter title. But any­way, here’s Jim Coren­man again…

The good news is that Samish is back as of June 18, so we are back up to full capac­i­ty for the first time in near­ly three months… and right before sum­mer sched­ule starts (which is tomor­row, June 23). 

Sum­mer sched­ule brings one more boat, more capac­i­ty and longer dwell-times, so we should be OK with just the usu­al con­ges­tion and late boats on heavy trav­el days.

And more good news is that the leg­is­la­ture has autho­rized the build­ing of five new boats to replace the 50-year-old Supers (most of which are on our route) with Olympic (144-car) fer­ries with hybrid propulsion. 

The Olympic Class fer­ries will be able to oper­ate full-elec­tric where enough pow­er is avail­able at the ter­mi­nals, diesel where it is not, or any com­bi­na­tion. This saves fuel, reduces pol­lu­tion, and reduces under­wa­ter noise which ham­pers the marine mam­mals’ abil­i­ty to find food. 

How­ev­er only the first boat is fund­ed, and it will be prob­a­bly three years before it is fin­ished. So this is a long-term solu­tion, not a quick fix.

And Jim also has a lit­tle more infor­ma­tion about the Hyak…

Unfor­tu­nate­ly the trans­porta­tion bud­get just adopt­ed by the leg­is­la­ture did not include fund­ing to keep the Hyak in ser­vice for this next fis­cal year. Hyak was orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled to be retired when Suquamish entered ser­vice last fall, but was kept in ser­vice to cov­er for war­ran­ty work on the oth­er three Olympics. She has been kept busy with oth­er ves­sels out for unex­pect­ed major ser­vice as well: Issaquah, Elwha, Sealth, Cath­lamet, Elwha again com­ing up in July– all out for months at a time. How­ev­er with­out fund­ing Hyak has to be decom­mis­sioned June 30, leav­ing WSF with 22 boats to cov­er 19 ves­sels in sum­mer service.

Jim Coren­man
Chair, San Juan Coun­ty FAC

Thank you Jim — real­ly appre­ci­ate your input on this. And I sure hope these things you men­tioned will help.

How­ev­er, as I’m writ­ing this on Fri­day after­noon, the fer­ry alerts keep com­ing in. The most recent says:

For Fri­day, June 21, #1 Elwha’s Ana­cortes 3:40 p.m. to Shaw and Orcas and #2 Yaki­ma’s Ana­cortes 4:30 p.m. to Lopez and Fri­day Har­bor will depart an esti­mat­ed 60 to 75 min­utes behind sched­ule. The Ana­cortes 2:40 p.m. to Fri­day Har­bor will depart an esti­mat­ed two hours behind sched­ule. #4 Chelan’s Lopez inter­is­land 3:50 p.m. to Shaw, Orcas and Fri­day Har­bor is run­ning 30 to 45 min­utes behind sched­ule. Please check Ves­sel­Watch for real-time depar­tures and arrivals.

So I don’t know what to think.

I’d love to know what you think. Com­ments are wel­come below…

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One comment...

  1. Thanks Tim for doing the work on this. Reser­va­tions were man­dat­ed by the State Leg­is­la­ture in 2006 think­ing it would spread uti­liza­tion to non peak runs and lessen the need for new boats. Not sure how valid that was at the time but a lot has hap­pened since to make the sit­u­a­tion very very tight pro­vid­ing ser­vice with sched­uled main­te­nance and breakdowns.

    Comment by Howie Rosenfeld on June 23, 2019 at 11:40 pm

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