County Council meets with WSF officials

Posted November 23, 2022 at 1:41 pm by

San Juan Coun­ty sends along an update about a recent meet­ing between the Coun­ty Coun­cil, state leg­is­la­tors, and Wash­ing­ton State Ferries.

Ahead of the busy, upcom­ing hol­i­day sea­son, mem­bers of San Juan County’s Coun­cil met with Wash­ing­ton State offi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Wash­ing­ton State Fer­ries to express islanders’ need for reli­able fer­ry service.

Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­bers Jamie Stephens and Cindy Wolf joined Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Debra Lekanoff; Wash­ing­ton State Sec­re­tary of Trans­porta­tion Roger Mil­lar; WSF Assis­tant Sec­re­tary Pat­ty Rub­stel­lo; Direc­tor of Marine Oper­a­tions Steve Nevey; and Direc­tor of Plan­ning, Cus­tomer and Gov­ern­ment Rela­tions John Vez­i­na to dis­cuss devel­op­ments in WSF ser­vices and operations.

“We’re so grate­ful to Rep. Lekanoff for orga­niz­ing this meet­ing because we were able to give folks a clear­er under­stand­ing of the impor­tance of the inter­is­land run,” said Coun­cilmem­ber Cindy Wolf.

WSF report­ed there were 45 can­cel­la­tions of San Juan Islands route sail­ings in the span of two weeks – which falls three per­cent short of their goal of 99 per­cent reli­a­bil­i­ty. Atten­dees dis­cussed ways to be more effi­cient in noti­fy­ing rid­ers of can­cel­la­tions and work­ing togeth­er to ensure islanders have enough time to make oth­er arrange­ments. The impor­tance of the inter­is­land route was emphasized.

“These can­cel­la­tions affect work­ing fam­i­lies, school chil­dren, gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions, social ser­vices, sher­iff oper­a­tions, and more,” Wolf said. “It impacts our abil­i­ty to do busi­ness as a com­mu­ni­ty when small trades­peo­ple can lose 20 per­cent of their income for a week when the inter­is­land is cancelled.”

WSF com­mit­ted to work­ing with Rep. Lekanoff and Coun­ty Coun­cil on bet­ter noti­fi­ca­tion strate­gies. A com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of elect­ed offi­cials and local cham­bers of com­merce is one pro­posed solu­tion that might sup­port the San Juan Islands and Ana­cortes Fer­ry Advi­so­ry Committees.

WSF antic­i­pates that their increased focus on recruit­ment and employ­ee edu­ca­tion will bring relief to the sys­tem by the sum­mer of 2023. They expect less can­cel­la­tions due to staffing shortages.

“I was glad to hear they are review­ing the dwell time,” said Coun­cilmem­ber Stephens. “Under­stand­ing the time it takes to load and unload boats – espe­cial­ly dur­ing the sum­mer – is key to keep­ing the boats on schedule.”

Ear­li­er this year, WSF cre­at­ed two new pro­grams that encour­age cur­rent employ­ees to take the nec­es­sary cours­es and exams to obtain a mates’ cre­den­tial. Over the next 18 months, they expect more than 40 to com­plete all the train­ing and cre­den­tials nec­es­sary to work as mates, which will sup­port future sys­tem sta­bil­i­ty. They’ll be work­ing with Gov­er­nor Inslee and the leg­is­la­ture to make these pro­grams permanent.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

One comment...

  1. Glad to see WSF is review­ing their dwell time. Con­sid­er­ing they have been at this for 70 years one would think they have a pret­ty good pic­ture of the time it takes to load and unload a ferry. 

    Best update this sum­mer was the can­cel­la­tion of a sail­ing because they had to fuel the ves­sel. Did some­one for­get these things need fuel?

    Comment by Michael Nachlinger on November 23, 2022 at 9:41 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0