Coupeville ferry temporarily at one boat later this month

A complicated confluence of considerations means a cut in service for the Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry run later this month.

Washington State Ferries announced that, beginning June 24, the route will be reduced to one boat for at least a week.

Ian Sterling, State Ferries spokesman, said one of the main factors leading to the temporary reduction is that the vessel Hyak will be decommissioned at the end of the month because lawmakers decided not to continue funding the boat, which has served as a backup throughout the system.

The decision to put the Hyak out to pasture wasn’t a big surprise. As Sterling explained, the vessel is “really old and hasn’t been maintained.” The only reason it’s still in use is thanks to “the Herculean efforts” of the engine crew, he said.

“It will be sold as a non-working vessel,” he said. “We’ve run this thing into the ground.”

The vintage vessel went into service in 1967. As a testament that it’s from a different era, the chairs in the boat were designed to be movable, Sterling said, in order to make space for square dancing.

At the same time, several other vessels in the hard-working fleet require planned maintenance or unexpected fixes. Several engine overhauls on aging vessels had been previously deferred and further delay would mean “an unacceptably high risk for unplanned service disruptions during the summer season,” according to a ferry official.

The 60-year-old Tillikum, for example, needs both main engines overhauled; they are currently 16,000 hours behind the target overhaul interval of 40,000 hours. This boat is so old, Sterling said, that its drive motor is from a surplus World War II destroyer.

In the ensuing shuffle of boats, State Ferries officials looked at ridership numbers and decided that reducing service on the Coupeville-Port Townsend route would affect the least number of people and would have the smallest impact on revenues.

One of the boats from Coupeville will float over to the San Juan Islands for the week of June 24; it will be on the inter-island route, Sterling said.

The hope is that the single-boat service to Coupeville will only be for a week, Sterling said, but it may end up being longer. People planning on taking the ferry might want to consider driving around.

“It’s not a fun way to start out the summer season,” he said.

More in News

Fare increases floated by Washington State Ferries

A group overseeing transportation in the state wants to know how ferry… Continue reading

Proposals being taken now for agricultural leases within reserve

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve issued a request for proposals for award… Continue reading

Coupeville registration is Aug. 13-15

Coupeville School District is asking parents of children kindergarten through fifth grades… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Music Festival in need of more volunteers

Oak Harbor Music Festival is seeking volunteers to work in merchandise booths… Continue reading

No carrier landing practices scheduled

There are no carrier-based flight training operations scheduled to occur at the… Continue reading

Island Transit names 2019 Award recipients

Elizabeth Allred was chosen by the Island Transit management team as the… Continue reading

Share the shore during pup season, look but don’t touch seals

Advocates for marine mammals are making their annual pitch to beach watchers… Continue reading

Cascade Falcon XXIV held at Camp Casey

Civil Air Patrol members from around Washington state and beyond arrived at… Continue reading

Flyers wins awards at beer competitions

Flyers Restaurant and Brewery claimed two golds and one bronze medal in… Continue reading

Most Read