Washington State Ferries calls on backup vessels to maintain service

The following is the text of a news release from the Washington State Department of Transportation:

(SEATTLE) (July 15) — In order to meet demand and keep the system moving, all available backup Washington State Ferries vessels will be called into service while two larger ferries are out for emergency repairs between Monday, July 20, and Wednesday, July 22.

WSF today announced the 202-vehicle Puyallup will be out of service for three days while crews inspect an engine that broke down Saturday, June 20. Additionally, the 48-year-old Elwha will be out of service for approximately four months for extensive repairs to a drive motor. 

“Adding two new Olympic-class vessels in the last year and a half allows us to call on our older ferries when we need them,” said WSDOT Assistant Secretary for Ferries Lynne Griffith. “Thanks to state lawmakers, we’ve got a third vessel under construction and plans for a fourth are in motion. In the meantime, the fleet is stretched thin.”

In order to maintain service across the entire system, WSF will adjust the sailing schedule and assign the backup vessels Evergreen State, Tillikum and Hiyu to two routes:


This route will expand from a two-boat schedule to a three-boat schedule. The 87-car Tillikum and Evergreen State will join the 188-car Spokane. 


These routes will shift from a three-boat schedule to a two-boat schedule, with supplementary service provided by the 34-car Hiyu. The 124-car Issaquah and Cathlamet will also serve the route.

The 188-car Walla Walla will temporarily fill in for the Puyallup on the Seattle/Bainbridge route between Monday, July 20, and Wednesday, July 22.

Customers traveling on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route should expect longer-than-usual wait times, or make plans to travel during non-peak hours such as midday or late evening.

By Professional Mariner Staff