Ferry alert: Boat breakdown on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route

(WSB PHOTO: M/V Evergreen State idled at Vashon)
1:55 PM: Traffic was already expected to be heavy on the Washington State Ferries Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth runs today, because of a big event on Vashon Island, and now there’s word of a complication – a boat breakdown (the un-mothballed M/V Evergreen State) has put it on a two-boat schedule. Check here for the latest alerts.

10:54 PM: Late night now, and it’s still a two-boat schedule. We’ve seen some of the results firsthand, having to go to Vashon for a family-related event this afternoon, and finally on the boat back home right now (the Issaquah departed Vashon for Fauntleroy via Southworth about 10 minutes ago). No word if there’s any chance this will be fixed tomorrow, so if you’re planning a trip on the “triangle” route Sunday, add extra time to your plan.

17 Replies to "Ferry alert: Boat breakdown on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route"

  • Ray August 16, 2014 (2:56 pm)

    And the hits keep coming for the ferry system.

    I know a lot of the fleet is made up of aging boats, but we have been having a disproportionate amount of issues this summer.

    WSF needs to be held accountable for their maintenance crews who are apparently slacking off this year.

  • East Coast Cynic August 16, 2014 (3:20 pm)

    Buy new ferries. Simple as that. Unless the Ferry system is perfectly content with the escalation problems.

    • WSB August 16, 2014 (3:24 pm)

      I haven’t gone into the detail – though I’m actually working from the dock at the moment as I have a family errand requiring a trip to Vashon! – but the Evergreen State, the boat that broke down today, is the one that wasn’t even supposed to be in service any more – it was mothballed a month or so ago, supposedly forever, but then came the unexpected Tacoma problem, and …

  • Planenut August 16, 2014 (4:40 pm)

    Buy new ferries with what? The Legislature doesn’t even give them enough money to pay their fuel bills, let alone funds to maintain 60 year old boats.

  • kim August 16, 2014 (6:33 pm)

    Rode the Evergreen this week. It HAD been decommissioned: no kitchen, vending machine, brochure stands, nor ceilings. It was like, “Whoa!”.

  • BrokeBoat August 16, 2014 (6:37 pm)

    I guess if you choose to live on an island you have to expect ferry issues now and then. These past few months have been crazy with all the problems.

  • Mark August 16, 2014 (6:41 pm)

    Ray you obviously have no idea of which you are talking about. The Evergreen state has an archaic control and drive system called Ross-Hill which has been out of service for a number of years. Added to the problem is that after the MVET was removed, there was very little money to do any maintenance and trying to find parts for a boat that is qualified to belong to AARP running on average 12 hours a day at least for the last 50+ years and things are going to go south, so blaming the maintenance crews is just too easy without digging deeper. Try to get a part for a 1955 Chevy and you will see what I mean.


  • RS August 16, 2014 (8:29 pm)

    Riding the water taxi yesterday, I noticed 2 ferries in the shipyard…are they WSF and if so, when are they supposed to sail?

  • Alkidoc August 16, 2014 (10:13 pm)

    That boat was really on it’s last legs. I rode on it twice this month. Bare bones operation.

  • Ray August 16, 2014 (10:23 pm)

    Sorry, Mark,

    I actually do know something about the ferry system as I worked for WSF from 92-99.

    It does not change the fact that WSF has a responsibility to be able to maintain and anticipate issues, and they have not been doing so that well lately.

  • West Sea Neighbor August 17, 2014 (5:47 am)

    So, what exactly is a “two boat schedule” and is it reflected in the schedule that comes up for the route on the wsdot web site?

  • robert August 17, 2014 (6:14 am)

    It looks like the ferry system is going the way of the american merchant marine. during the nick johnston admin. the merchant marine was de-valued and left to the foreign flag runaways. now we have very few american flag vessels. the ferrys are state supported , where is the money for maintenance and repair going ?more general fund ? maybe sell the ferry system to china or the phillipines, ???

  • Anne August 17, 2014 (7:53 am)

    Maybe- just maybe -WSF are doing the best they can with the money they have?

  • David August 17, 2014 (12:54 pm)

    Sea Neighbor. The two boat schedule is available on the WSF web site:


  • East Coast Cynic August 17, 2014 (2:41 pm)

    Old boats and ferries I suspect can only be maintained and fixed so much before they give out due to age and the problems with the Ferries are escalating to the point that there may have to be a “Poseidon Adventure” incident for the Legislature to take action to buy new Ferries.

  • Brian August 17, 2014 (3:44 pm)

    There have been many expose’s written on the management issues. Look at all of the engineers sitting around at HQ with nothing to do. When they do design a boat, it is a disaster.
    This old story, working with the money they have is because the legislature will not combine everything into an RTA.
    Why does each County have its own system, with multiple levels of management, that wont work with each other?
    Why do King County residents pay property tax for the ferry, yet Kitsap County residents do not?

    It is mismangled from the Governors Office on down, but really WSF is a poster child for mismanagement. (Remember even the NYT did an article!)

  • Chris August 18, 2014 (1:02 pm)

    I work as contractor on new vessel construction, so take my comments with a grain of salt. The Evergreen is about 60-0years old and was decommissioned. The fact that it suffered a problem when rushed back in service is unfortunate, but not unreasonable. The people I know work hard, but it is harder when the local news is all over every problem and funding is very limited and always uncertain. What do you guys do that is always so perfect???? Think about people in Glass Houses and the throwing of stones.

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