Just one boat on Edmonds-Kingston ferry run ‘until further notice’

The Spokane on its way from Kingston to Edmonds. (My Edmonds News file photo)

Edmonds-Kingston ferry commuters are down to one boat “until further notice” after the Washington State Ferries moved an Edmonds ferry boat to restore service to the Seattle-Bremerton route.

Last Saturday morning, the Chimacum, a newer boat in the fleet, broke an engine piston rod while on the Seattle-Bremerton run and had to be docked for repairs. This left travelers in both Seattle and Bremerton stranded because it was the only boat in service for that route.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) Public Information Officer Ian Sterling said to expect delays, especially during rush hours. He advised seeking alternate routes, such as the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, during high wait times.

“Take alternate routes, walk aboard, if at all possible, travel off-peak, sign up for email rider alerts via the WSF website and download the WSDOT for real-time service updates and conditions,” Sterling advised.

The Edmonds-Kingston crossing will be at a single boat until further notice and two-boat service will be restored as soon as vessels are available, which could be weeks away, he added.

“We’re currently looking for a shipbuilder and are funded to start building new ferries,” Sterling explained. “The process to build usually takes several years, so I’d expect to see the first of the new boats in 2027 or 2028.”

The lone Edmonds-Kingston boat taking the load is the Spokane, built in 1972. Sterling said that WSF typically gets 60 years of use from its vessels.

“The new ferries will be based on our newest boats in the fleet, the Olympic Class, but will be hybrid-electric and capable of running on nearly 100% electricity,” Sterling explained.

Although the future for WSF looks bright, many may wonder how the state ferry system, a vertebra in the backbone of its transportation system, got to this point.  

“This goes back to decisions made by legislatures 20-plus years ago after ferries lost its dedicated source of funding,” Sterling said. “No new boats were built for a 10-year period between 2000-2010, and that has put us in the current situation.”

When asked what the public could do to safeguard the stability of the ferry system, Sterling said to “be engaged with long-range plans and decisions regarding WSF.”

Learn more about WSF wait times and ticket purchases here.

— By Rick Sinnett

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