Edmonds-Kingston ferry route returns to one-boat service while Puyallup undergoes repairs

The Washington State Ferries’ Puyallup. (My Edmonds News file photo)

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.”

  1. Why are we putting up with a ferry system that is this incompetent? Shouldn’t we be supporting a movement toward a privately owned ferry system? Anyone who has tried to use the ferry system and fought the scheduling, lines, and uncertainty of getting to the peninsula knows exactly what I’m saying. We’ve been putting up with this incompetent state run system for much too long. The State of Washington is obviously not capable of running this operation. The only alternative is to fight the traffic in Seattle and Tacoma and drive around. The system is not going to get better. If we continue to let this go on, we deserve what we’re getting.

    1. Because we don’t want to go swimming in Puget sound when a for-profit ferry operator decides to skip maintenance because it hurts their bottom line. THAT’SWHY. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY is the. PS. Please refer to the frequent for-profit ferry boat catastrophes occurring around the globe, for further information.

  2. I read the article twice and failed both times to see the grounds for accusations of “incompetence.” What did see was a repair job that will cost $40k rather than $400k – a sign innovative planning – and a great deal of flexibility in assigning ferries to where they are needed. The accident was unavoidable, as anyone will know who has worked or boated on the Sound and noticed both the number and the virtual invisibility of floating logs. And what I see when I ride a ferry is a hard-working, dedicated crew. Seems to me that the State of Washington is running a good system rather well.

    Scheduling? How would it better be done, given weather and the number of boats?
    Lines? Lots of people. More boats might help, but cost a lot.
    Uncertainty of getting to the Peninsula? Everyone seems to get there, and I haven’t heard of any sinkings…

    Seems to me that the State of Washington is running a complex, good system rather well.

    How about some constructive ideas?

  3. There is a extra ferry at the Kingston dock, why can’t it be used? Also if Jay would drop his covid mandate and re-hire the people he fired we wouldn’t have a staffing shortage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.