The Edmonds-Kingston ferry route is back to one-boat service this weekend while the ferry Puyallup is undergoing repairs for a damaged propellor.
John Vezins, the ferry system’s director of planning, customer and government relations, said in an email Saturday that the Puyallup “contacted a foreign object underwater, bending its propellor. This was very likely a log, as there is a great deal of driftwood in the water after recent high tides. With no service relief vessel currently available, this will put the route back on its alternate one-boat service for at least the weekend,” he said.
Washington State Ferries’ vessels team has arranged for the dive team and equipment necessary for repairs, Vezins said. In the past, he explained, repairing a bent propellor would have required a drydocking, costing approximately $400,000. However, the ferry system has developed an underwater repair method using a dive team and rented equipment, costing about $40,000.
Since Jan.1, the Edmonds-Kingston route has been on a three-week trial for restoring two-boat service. Prior to the Puyallap mishap, “that trial has gone well, with two-boat service every day, with only a couple second-boat sailings missed one morning,” Vezins said.
On Saturday, the ferry system put the 144-car Kaleetan vessel into service to replace the 202-car Puyallup. On Sunday, the Kaleetan was sent to the Seattle-Bainbridge route, and was replaced by the 202-car Wenatchee “to add vehicle capacity to the busy Edmonds/Kingston route,” Vezins said in a Sunday update. “As we’ve detailed in the Service Restoration Plan, vessel availability remains an issue, even as we work to address crewing challenges.”
In his Saturday email, Vezins said he recognized that returning to one-boat service “may cause our Edmonds-Kingston customers frustration and appreciate any patience they can muster in understanding the challenges of operating in a dynamic marine environment,” Vezins said. “We will return to trialing the route for safe and reliable two-boast service as soon as possible.”