UPDATE: State ferry Cathlamet ‘significantly’ damaged in ‘hard landing’; Fauntleroy dock reopens after 7-hour closure

8:22 AM: We’re getting multiple reports that an incoming ferry has hit the Fauntleroy dock. … You can see the damage on the M/V Cathlamet in this photo by Bill Wellington:

No word yet on injuries – Seattle Fire and Police have been dispatched.

8:33 AM: Here’s another view, from Angela Summerfield, one of the people who told us the impact was very loud.

She says the Cathlamet went into reverse and pulled away after the initial impact. It then returned to offload and our crew says it’s now at the dock – just sent this photo:

No indication of any serious injuries – our crew says SFD is getting ready to depart – and we’re hearing via the scanner that only “minor injuries” are reported, but the dock is closed TFN. … WSF calls it a “hard landing … causing significant damage to the vessel and an offshore dolphin at the terminal. … Fauntleroy service suspended until further notice while assessment is done.”

8:56 AM: Above photo is a closer look at the damage. Some vehicles on board appear to have been damaged too. The State Patrol has sent multiple units (the ferry system is a state highway, so it’s their jurisdiction). A U.S. Coast Guard vessel is in view along the dock too. … Among those on the Cathlamet when it happened was Anne Higuera of Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), who tells us that right after the impact, “The crew on the boat was really calm and professional.” … She tells us there was no warning that the impact was imminent. She also says the ferry was not fully loaded with cars – this time of the morning from Vashon usually isn’t full.

9:20 AM: We’re awaiting a public-information officer at the dock. Meantime, Mark Dale sent a view of the damaged boat from the hillside above, before it went back in to offload post-impact:

Right now, the dock remains closed and the damaged boat is still there. A State Patrol spokesperson tells us one person who was on board is coming back for a medical evaluation but they don’t believe the injury is serious. … Some backstory: WSF talked at its community meetings last month about its vessel shortage, with no new builds expected to come online before 2027. The boat damaged today, M/V Cathlamet, is 41 years old and has had trouble in recent years, including what we reported as a “smoky scare” one year ago. … WSP just told us the dock is expected to be closed for at least the rest of today.

9:52 AM: WSF tells us they’re expecting to have a media briefing in a few hours. Here’s the official WSF alert on how service is affected:

The Issaquah will be the only boat on the route for now and will continue service between Southworth and Vashon. The boat will not operate on its regular schedule and just load vehicles before departing to its next destination to move as much traffic as possible.

There will be no midday tie up of the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route to assist with service during this time. Therefore, there will be an additional 12:35 p.m. sailing from Point Defiance, and a 1 p.m. sailing from Tahlequah.

(That’s the route between the south end of Vashon and Tacoma.)

10:09 AM: Some asked in comments about the WSF explanation that an “offshore dolphin” was damaged. Just in via comments, this photo by Pam Kirkpatrick shows the damage:

WSF tweeted this photo of the damage from onboard:

10:38 AM: If you’re wondering about the helicopter over the deck, it’s the TV stations’ shared helicopter. … Meantime, among those commenting below is the superintendent of the Vashon Island School District, which has a notable amount of students who commute from West Seattle. They’re monitoring the situation. Again, the only ways to get to/from Vashon right now are via either Southworth or Tahlequah (clarification: with vehicles; the Water Taxi to downtown runs weekday during commute times) . … Update from the Coast Guard: Two cars “remain stuck” aboard the ferry. The USCG has tweeted a few photos including this:

11:36 AM: Updates from WSF – they plan a media briefing at 2:30 pm. In the meantime, they say that if the Cathlamet can be safely moved, they’ll bring in the Kitsap and resume two-boat service on the route. No timeline on that yet – both the boat and the damaged “offshore terminal structure” are still being evaluated.

12:20 PM: WSF says the dock will be evaluated once the vessel is moved – so no decisions on service restoration until then.

1:15 PM: Two video clips from readers, right after the ferry hit the dolphin:

That’s Anne Higuera‘s video showing how ferry crew calmly went to check on people in vehicles close to the front of the deck. Below is Diane Berge‘s video showing Cathlamet backing away after hitting the dolphin:

2:08 PM: The Vashon Island Water Taxi will add a round trip tonight – details here.

2:33 PM: We have a crew at the WSF media briefing.

Meantime, WSF has tweeted that “people with monthly or multi-ride vehicle/passenger passes for Vashon & #outhworth will be allowed to use their pass at Colman Dock in #Seattle for today only to help facilitate their travel.”

2:59 PM: The briefing is over. We’ll upload the entire video as soon as our crew’s back. A few quick highlights: Too soon to tell whether human error or mechanical problem. Crew is being interviewed and tested. They will try to move the Cathlamet within the next few hours and if that works, they’ll go ahead with plan to use M/V Kitsap on the run.

3:07 PM: Actually – Cathlamet just pulled out.

Kitsap is on its way – currently in Rich Passage east of Bremerton, per WSF VesselWatch.

3:20 PM: VesselWatch shows M/V Issaquah now arriving at Fauntleroy. … WSF says the dock is going back into service. Cathlamet is headed for WSF’s Eagle Harbor facility for repairs (after what WSF says will be “crew-move stops at Vashon and Southworth”).

4:08 PM: Here’s our video of the briefing. (Our apologies for the background-audio problem; Sterling’s audio is clearer in this KING upload.) Speaking along with WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling were WSDOT assistant secretary for ferries Patty Rubstello and former ferries boss, now deputy WSDOT secretary, Amy Scarton.

WSF says it has resumed service “sailing all stops with no set schedule” for now, but will switch at some point tonight to the “posted two-boat schedule.” To summarize the briefing – they didn’t have many answers. The captain is a “longtime” WSF employee, said Sterling, noting that becoming a captain requires about 20 years experience. He did not know how many vehicles were on board when this happened (it wasn’t a full load, as you can see in Anne Higuera’s video featured above). The vessel will likely take months to repair. The USCG will lead the investigation, with the National Transportation Safety Board “working alongside” them. One damaged vehicle remained on the boat, under a crumpled section of the ferry’s “pickle fork,” but several others were damaged, Sterling said. … One more note: If you still have questions, a WSF rep is scheduled to join tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting to talk about this, 6:30 pm online (link and call-in number are in our calendar listing).

5:08 PM: Photo added above is from Anne Higuera, showing the damaged Cathlamet now tied up at Vashon. (As noted above, she was on board when it hit the Fauntleroy dolphin this morning.)

6:30 PM: As noted in comments, Cathlamet is now at Eagle Harbor.

181 Replies to "UPDATE: State ferry Cathlamet 'significantly' damaged in 'hard landing'; Fauntleroy dock reopens after 7-hour closure"

  • Gman July 28, 2022 (8:34 am)

    Holy Crap!

  • BracePointerSister July 28, 2022 (8:34 am)

    I heard the crash from my home on Brace Point.  Sounded like a bunch of steel pipes being dropped from a height.

  • Andrew Mayzak July 28, 2022 (8:37 am)

    Was on a run in Lincoln Park and saw this happen live… the ferry appeared to be going at or near full speed and steered slightly south of the dock itself, striking one of the pylons before slowing as it neared the shore. It then backed away and approached the dock again at slower speed. Impact was loud and visibly shook the ferry – hope nobody was hurt.

  • Crumple Zone July 28, 2022 (8:45 am)

    Holy crap!  That’s a lot of damage.  The run was already down from 3 to 2 boats too.  Not good…

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (8:51 am)

      Yes, we’ve reported that WSF has fewer vessels systemwide than they really need to run full service, not just this route, so this is definitely not good.

      • Joe July 28, 2022 (10:22 am)

        Maybe they can rent the Evergreen State from the person who bought it.

        • Tommy D July 28, 2022 (11:13 am)

          Or use the Klahowya that has been sitting on the Bainbridge dock since it retired.

          • Stephen Fox July 28, 2022 (1:01 pm)

                 Yes  Bring  back  Some  of  the  Ships  like  the  Klahowya   that  just  sits  there  at  Eagle  Harbor   We  Depend  Upon  Good Safe  Services  from  Our WSF Fleet  this  is  Heavy Summer  Season  Many  Routes  On  Weekends  One Boat  Service  NO  GOOD  I  am  a Faithful Ferry Rider  on  the Winslow  Seattle Ferry Route  My Home Town 67  Happy Years  Fix the Problems.    I  Do  Care  I  Miss the EVERGREEN STATE  CLASS  SHIP  TOO..  

    • Scott H July 28, 2022 (10:19 am)

      The boat hit the dolphin, not the dock.  The dolphins are out in the water and guide the boat to the dock.  So the dock should be OK.

      As a Vashon resident I don’t buy the “we don’t have enough boats”.  We had enough, pre-pandemic to run full schedules, so what happened to those boats.  Last year the excuse was they didn’t have enough crew to run full schedules, now it’s we don’t have the boats.  They haven’t run a 3 boat schedule on Vashon-Southworth-Fauntleroy since the pre-pandemic. Pre-pandemic they didn’t have a spare capacity, but they did have enough to normally run full schedules.  

      • JC July 28, 2022 (12:11 pm)

        I don’t think we’ll ever know the truth. You can go ask the same question to 10 wsf employees on a single boat and you’ll get 10 different answers. Going to be interesting what form of Lies they’re going to come up with for this

        • A-Red July 28, 2022 (1:21 pm)

          Over priced or under subsidized? Not sure WSF is actually making any money here.

    • AJ July 28, 2022 (11:25 am)

      Since they have been on a 2 boat system they are always late to sail and try to make up time by speeding up during the sailing. The ferry system is broken and commuting is now more than ever difficult, over priced, and very unreliable 

      • Reed July 28, 2022 (6:53 pm)

        Take the foot ferry.

  • sam-c July 28, 2022 (8:48 am)

    Oh dang. That’s bad, really bad.  West Seattle transportation systems must be cursed.    

    • joey July 28, 2022 (12:09 pm)

      Seems like a WSDOT problem everywhere, frankly.  It’s neverending.

      • Blibber July 28, 2022 (6:48 pm)

        What’re the odds a 41-yr-old boat would suffer a mechanical problem? We don’t know that’s what it was yet, but that’s my bet. It seems like we’re getting what we paid for, largely.

  • heyalki July 28, 2022 (8:52 am)

    “You’re never getting off this island! We’ve blocked all the exits” – West Seattle overlords

  • WS_Native July 28, 2022 (8:54 am)

    Bet they’ll be running the Boats…sorry Boat, for Vashon/Southworth from downtown for a few months. That’s a lot of damage! Wonder what the dock looks like….

    • Jeff July 28, 2022 (10:53 am)

      It doesn’t look like it actually damaged the dock itself, just the dolphin on the north side approach.   That may be a fairly quick repair ( or not, given that this is wsdot ). But the ferry is definitely another story and I’m not sure there are any backup boats available right now.   Definitely not gonna be a good situation for awhile 

      • K July 28, 2022 (6:41 pm)

        It was the SOUTH dolphin they hit with the NORTH side of the boat. See video above. The boat was way off course.
        The captain seemed able to maneuver fine when backing out and actually docking in the slip. Looks like the captain’s error.

        • Ferns July 28, 2022 (8:05 pm)

          I’m confused about the word dolphin in the situation. I’m starting to think the ferry didn’t hit an animal called a dolphin but those pilings or giant vertical gatherings of wood? Are those the dolphins? I think it should be made a little clearer for the dolphin (animal) lovers out there (non sailors).

          • Nina July 28, 2022 (9:48 pm)

            thinking the exact same thing.. somebody please explain what the dolphin is

          • Donna Willy July 31, 2022 (8:07 pm)

            A dolphin is a group of pilings arrayed together to serve variously as a protective hardpoint along a dock, in a waterway, or along a shore; as a means or point of stabilization of a dock, bridge, or similar structure; as a mooring point; and as a base for navigational aids. Wikipedia

    • Concerned Neighbor July 28, 2022 (11:03 am)

        Running the boat from downtown to Vashon may not be an option anymore, since the “remodel” took away a ton of parking at the dock so that there could be a pretty park.

  • Commuter Mom July 28, 2022 (8:56 am)

    All the VISD commuter parents doing a collective scream. But seriously, so glad no one was hurt bc this looks really bad. 

  • J. Stefanac July 28, 2022 (8:59 am)

    Yikes!  Somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do!  Hope everyone is OK.

  • jo July 28, 2022 (8:59 am)

  • Witness July 28, 2022 (9:00 am)

    The boat came in very fast and right after it crashed backed away quickly and smoked seem to come from the boat.

    • Steve July 28, 2022 (12:12 pm)

      Just typical diesel smoke from stacks as they throttle up to reverse out.

  • snowskier July 28, 2022 (9:00 am)

    Let’s hope the damage to the dock is much less than the damage to the vessel.  I hope they can find a replacement vessel by the time school starts back up.

  • Yma July 28, 2022 (9:02 am)

    I am just SO glad there weren’t any serious injuries!Man, the poor Southworth/Vashon folks that need to commute to Seattle :(

  • Mary July 28, 2022 (9:06 am)

    The Ferry hits the piling wing on the south side of the dock and continued in. Think it hit the sand bar the way the ferry was tilting and threw into reverse. Reversed out then pulled into the dock. Hope everyone is ok.

    • Asummercat July 28, 2022 (11:13 am)

      Thanks, Mary. That explains why I heard the loud crash but the ferry kept moving fast toward the dock. 

  • ACG July 28, 2022 (9:10 am)

    Wow. The damage to the ferry looks bad. Hoping everyone on board is okay. What’s an “offshore dolphin” ?  ——-  “  WSF calls it a “hard landing … causing significant damage to the vessel and an offshore dolphin at the terminal. ”

  • Lola July 28, 2022 (9:10 am)

    Wow, that is a smash.  I hope nobody was hurt.  

  • Cheryl July 28, 2022 (9:10 am)

    Vashon islander here, former WSEA resident prior to that. •We’ve been suffering for over 2 years now with increasingly poor and irregular service, long lines, crew shortages, gimpy boats, etc. from WSF, and now this? Our best boat, no less? In the middle of summer tourist season?! Jeebus, you have NO idea how much this sucks for islanders. Doctors appointments, cancer treatments, kids going to/from school, King County Metro service, etc. will now all have to be done via the Pt. Defiance/Tahlequah route, or Southworth/Vashon. People who commute from Kitsap (and beyond) on the triangle route are also now well and truly hosed. •How much more of this daily barrage of tragedies & system collapse can any of us take? It’s just too damn much. And, this just feels like more insult to injury!

    • Betsy July 28, 2022 (11:36 am)

      Ugh I really feel for you! it’s so bad! 

    • Austin July 28, 2022 (11:52 am)

      I guess we “Collapse now and avoid the rush.”

    • Glenn July 28, 2022 (1:33 pm)

      Kinda makes you rethink that aversion to building a bridge now, eh?

      • ACG July 28, 2022 (2:09 pm)

        Bridges leading in/out of West Seattle haven’t has the best safety/reliability either!  LOL!

      • Ivan Weiss July 28, 2022 (2:46 pm)

        No. 

        • gatorboy July 28, 2022 (7:34 pm)

          Hmmm. Galloping Gertie. Hood Canal bridge. I-90 Floating Bridge. West Seattle Bridge. I-5 Bridge. Perhaps we should reconsider building yet another bridge. We’re not very good at keeping them. 

          • Aaron July 29, 2022 (5:10 am)

            Or maybe we have a uniquely difficult terrain for building bridges.  The I90 floating bridge is one of two long span floating bridges in the world, the other being the 520 bridge 5 miles away.  The I90 bridge was under renovation, closed to traffic and hit by a record wind storm when it sank… you must have forgotten to mention that.   The Tacoma Narrows bridge was an extremely long span with  a wind speed that matched the resonance of the bridge causing standing waves to occur. Nothing like that had ever been encountered before and was not considered in engineering such structures at the time.  The hood canal bridge is self explanatory and I’m not sure what the “I5 bridge” is since there is no named “I5 bridge”.  Do you mean the University Bridge?  It hasn’t failed.    The only structural failure due to real human error was the West Seattle Bridge.So you got 1 out of 5 in your attempt to trash talk the Puget Sound.  I’m sure you’ll try again.

    • Reed July 28, 2022 (6:57 pm)

      Do people who live on islands really expect transportation and conveniences to be equal to that of mainlands? 

      • WS resident July 28, 2022 (7:29 pm)

        I couldn’t agree more, if you moved to Vashon you were prepared for inconsistent transportation, I mean, it’s an island without a bridge. I don’t know how anyone can rely on the ferry system 100%. 

    • Ash July 29, 2022 (2:05 pm)

      Imagine this exact scenario but in rural Alaska. Literal lifeline for medications, doctor’s appointments and much much more. Sometimes communities up there only get ONE ferry a week, sometimes a MONTH in the winter. Washington ferries are bad but at least they’re running 🙌🏽

  • Frog July 28, 2022 (9:12 am)

    It’s nice that the crew was “calm and professional” after the crash, but I wonder about before.  Crashing the boat seems not too professional.  But then, does anything work anymore? 

    • Joanna July 28, 2022 (9:49 am)

      yes…this is a huge accident… same route day in day out… someone’s head and credential is going to roll…and should 

      • Neighbor July 28, 2022 (10:42 am)

        We don’t know the cause, it may have been a mechanical failure, which these boats are known for.  Firing people isn’t the best way to avoid future problems.  Blameless culture is a more constructive approach where no individual takes sole responsibility.  This allows honest discovery of the root cause.  Vengeance is never constructive.

      • Suzanne Romain July 28, 2022 (10:46 am)

        The heads that need to roll are not the heads in the front line- high level managers have chosen not to invest and maintain the ferries or care for staff- that boat was 41 years old.  It’s a generational thing- a whole generation who refused to invest in any infrastructure in the country- not just transport but schools, healthcare, well- community ANYTHING.  All while calling young people free loaders. Now we get to watch all that crumble and the front line folks get blamed for it. Ugg. 

        • Sam Walsh July 28, 2022 (11:53 am)

          You are exactly correct. Thanks for stating the realities. It’s not a short-term problem. Sadly the people who carried out this irresponsible infrastructure management are probably long gone, happily retired somewhere with a nice pension.

          • Lamont July 28, 2022 (12:59 pm)

            Keep voting for tax cuts and keep complaining as ever more complicated systems fail due to underfunding/understaffing.

          • Joseph B. July 28, 2022 (2:28 pm)

            Could be a funding issue. We don’t know anything yet. But coming in at that speed it is hard to believe it was not a mech. failure.

        • Mike Matusky July 28, 2022 (1:32 pm)

          You bring up a very important point. (Applause!!!) I agree it is true of most all infrastructure. If it was there when we were born it has been, and will be, there “forever”.  And if we built it ( current generation) we expect it to last forever.
          Bridges,  roads, not so much…

        • Generation X July 28, 2022 (1:59 pm)

          Blaming the Boomers for the state of the world is getting old.  Each generation strives to do the best with the information available to them at the time.  I promise you that your grandchildren won’t be so impressed with your love of avocadoes and almond milk, lithium mining or hydroelectric dams.  Better than fossil fuels, yes but better than what may be invented next?  Who knows.

          • DamnBoomerDams July 28, 2022 (9:26 pm)

            Large hydro dams predate the “Boomers” for your soapbox notes. You’re going to have to go back to 1930’s for the big hydro dam projects and the late 1800’s for hydro-electric becoming popular. Can you better summarize how any of those things you called out are relative to what happened at the dock today? 🙄

  • Sadoutcome July 28, 2022 (9:13 am)

    Oh no; I feel so bad for the people whose cars got smooshed, and the people waiting on the dock!

  • Needsmorecilantro July 28, 2022 (9:16 am)

    What’s with the “offshore dolphin”? Did an actual dolphin get injured?

  • SEADOG July 28, 2022 (9:16 am)

    The Cathlamet was involved in a similar accident in Mukilteo back in 2007.

    • Jay West July 28, 2022 (11:43 am)

      Growing up we called it the crash-ram-it. That boat has history.

  • It will Buff out! July 28, 2022 (9:17 am)

    Build a bridge! Oh wait, WSDOT can’t maintain those either. 

    • Wayne July 28, 2022 (10:18 am)

      If you’re talking about the WS Bridge, that’s a Seattle thing, not WSDOT I don’t believe.

    • Aaron July 29, 2022 (5:20 am)

      The West Seattle Bridge had structural failures that were discovered ->because<- of maintenance.  That discovery led to the bridge being shut down to prevent a catastrophe.   Perhaps you meant to talk trash about the construction company that built the bridge, since that would be the only appropriate target… but I’m guessing that wouldn’t accomplish your goal of disparaging Seattle.

  • Enumclaw kid July 28, 2022 (9:18 am)

    That class of ferry had a faulty drive system resulting in a series of dock rammings in the early-mid 1980s. Word at the time was that it was fixed. Any connection?

    • David July 28, 2022 (1:02 pm)

      Wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they came up with a “temporary” fix, and since it worked so well they kept putting off properly redesigning it (and it was eventually forgotten).

  • Scubafrog July 28, 2022 (9:19 am)

    I’m so glad there were no injuries. This is amongst the worst damage to a Washington State ferry I’ve seen – we’re lucky there were no fatalities.  It will be interesting to see what happened on such a calm day.  We need more ferries stat, throughout the Sound.

    • Michael Damon July 28, 2022 (10:31 am)

      I’ve never seen a WSF vessel crumpled like that. Docks, yes, boats no.

  • Burt G July 28, 2022 (9:22 am)

    Definitely bad news. Hope the dock is still useable. This is another reason for adding a second slip at Fauntleroy. 

  • Charlie C July 28, 2022 (9:28 am)

    Photos from the boat …. (photography credit – Pam Kirkpatrick)

  • momosmom July 28, 2022 (9:31 am)

    Geez to have that much damage I wonder what caused this? But you know there’s now a line that says: This line for DOT Urine testing :>(  

  • Bradley July 28, 2022 (9:36 am)

    That’ll leave a mark. 

  • Charlie C July 28, 2022 (9:36 am)

    Photo of the piling  …. (photography credit – Pam Kirkpatrick)

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (10:04 am)

      Thank you. Will add above.

    • ktrapp July 28, 2022 (10:26 am)

      Someone correct me, but that looks like the wrong side of the dolphin for a ferry to be coming in contact with.  The wall on the other side is supposed to help align the ferry with the dock.  And since it looks like that’s Lincoln Park in the background, with the damage on the port side of the ferry, it seems like not only was the ferry coming in way too fast, but it might have been off course by a lot.

      • Kelsey July 28, 2022 (10:45 am)

        https://twitter.com/sna23/status/1552688120381919232?t=NMK9nJSLu3OawoJb1ZIcgw&s=19This tweet shows the path of the ferry. If it’s accurate, the ferry was way off course

        • Jen July 28, 2022 (11:42 am)

          That very much looks like the moment the captain realized the boat wouldn’t slow down, she/he turned it to avoid damaging the dock. Sadly the turn wasn’t in time to avoid the pilings, but it could have been much, much worse with a broken dock.

      • sna July 28, 2022 (10:54 am)

        Yes.  It came in fast (above 10 knots) and to the south of the terminal.  Here’s a route history from MarineTraffic

        • Concerned Neighbor July 28, 2022 (11:36 am)

           I think the captain tried to beach the boat.  Maybe there was an electrical or electronic problem.  He made a hard turn at about 1000 ft from dock.  That is exactly what he should have done if there was a problem steering or slowing down.

          • David July 28, 2022 (1:08 pm)

            Thank you, exactly what you said.
            Between hitting the dock and hitting a piling, there’s no real choice economically (which seems to be all that matters these days). Likely the same is true in terms of protecting lives, but I don’t know enough about that to have an informed opinion.
            Farther up the thread, someone mentions that in the 80s this class of ferries had drive system issues that led to a number of dock rammings. To me at least,  it all fits.

      • DEF July 28, 2022 (11:34 am)

        Based on the path/speed from Kelsey’s link, does it look like the vessel was coming in on the correct course but too fast, then the course changed (perhaps intentionally?) to hit the dolphin which slowed the vessel?

        • WS Res July 28, 2022 (3:13 pm)

          Not unlike ditching a truck in a runaway ramp when coming down a mountain, perhaps.

          • sw July 28, 2022 (5:41 pm)

            Good comparison.  I too think hitting the dolphin may well have been intentional, a calculated risk to avoid a more catastrophic collision with the dock.  Ferry captains are quite experienced and know the boats.  My money is on a ship system failure.

    • waikikigirl July 28, 2022 (5:46 pm)

      I bet that scared the ba-jebbies out of the seagulls and other birds that always seem to be sunbathing on them!!! 

  • wsgal July 28, 2022 (9:36 am)

    That must have been such a scary experience onboard. Thankful no one was hurt. 

  • wsgal July 28, 2022 (9:44 am)

    Thankful no one was hurt. I’m guessing this was a technical/system error rather than human error. Very unfortunate. 

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (10:03 am)

      No info on that yet but as noted above, the Cathlamet has had trouble, including an incident one year ago that led to a fire response.

  • Interested Neighbor July 28, 2022 (9:56 am)

    This boat has a history of bashing docks – https://evergreenfleet.com/cathlamet/

    • K July 28, 2022 (11:18 am)

      Saw someone on Twitter coin it the “Crashlamet” 

  • Michelle July 28, 2022 (10:04 am)

    Not sure why West Seattle is in the news so much. We have a lot going on lately&nbsp; If someone has found a buried board game and started playing it, please stop. Thank you.

    • Put down the dice July 28, 2022 (11:29 am)

      You know, I thought I heard drums… 

    • Beau July 28, 2022 (11:54 am)

      Well played, Mademoiselle, well played indeed! <tips hat> :] 

    • Jumanji July 28, 2022 (4:58 pm)

      Someone needs to go back a turn and roll again?

  • CH July 28, 2022 (10:11 am)

    yikes…guess who’s paying for damages? Us taxpayers through taxes/tabs :(

  • Question Authority July 28, 2022 (10:11 am)

    For those of you who default to blaming the crew or captain must have zero experience with anything electro-mechanical.  Random failures of equipment happen outside of anyone’s control and at any time even with the best of maintenance and plans.  Much like that time you woke up and your coffee maker was broken or your car battery was dead but you gotta blame somebody for it.

    • wsatty July 28, 2022 (11:12 am)

      Your point is well taken – I wonder if the captain was faced with a mechanical failure and decided that it was better to hit the dolphin than hit the dock.  

      • Concerned Neighbor July 28, 2022 (11:38 am)

         I think the Captain tried to beach the boat because of some mechanical failure.

    • Carly July 28, 2022 (12:52 pm)

      You can tell this wasn’t a mechanical error because there is a video circulating of it immediately stopping and going in reverse. Also, it hit the far side of the dolphin, not the side it should be on to be line up with the dock (there are literally arrows on them to point to the side to go to). This is absolutely human error and the captain and the mates should be help responsible. 

      • Question Authority July 28, 2022 (1:28 pm)

        Really, so your confidant the steering/helm wasn’t broken and the fact they were able to reverse proof it never was faulty as well?   To say they don’t know where to park the ferry is quite the stretch as well.

      • Tony July 28, 2022 (2:12 pm)

        The only thing I can tell is you have no idea what you’re talking about!

      • Drew July 28, 2022 (2:29 pm)

        Carly, wow you’re good if you can do a complete accident investigation from looking at a video. Someone call the coast guard and tell them to go home. 

    • Lamont July 28, 2022 (1:04 pm)

      These boats are also run with a duty cycle a lot higher than your car, and they’re exposed to salt water corrosion.  If there is any unknown weakness in the maintenance schedule then entropy will find it.

    • Arm chair QB July 28, 2022 (2:05 pm)

      Like, you know, when you gotta land at the beach because of an oil pressure failure. 

  • Tom Forker July 28, 2022 (10:12 am)

    Charlie C’s photo is the only one that adds new information to the story – better than any news coverage I have seen. The damage seemed incompatible with the vertical nature of dolphins and pilings, but his photo shows how the gunwale of the ferry crushed the piling stanchion down low and caused the top of it to be bent into an angle which was capable of reaching the superstructure of the boat.  Thanks, Charlie C.

    • Wayne July 28, 2022 (10:27 am)

      Exactly right.

    • Concerned Neighbor July 28, 2022 (11:17 am)

       We think there was an engine failure and the captain might have been attempting to beach the boat to avoid wiping out the terminal.  In the process he clipped the dolphin, that’s why the damage is from low upwards.  That would have been a REALLY smart decision by the captain to lessen injuries and damage.  (This is coming from my husband who is a marine engineer and licensed captain of over 50 years.)  As for the boat heeling over, that may have been due to the impact with the dolphins.  There are any number of things that could have instigated this, and the captain did what he thought was right to lessen the damages.  Question:  Can you see how having the boats go automated would have been worse, should the electronics be the issue?

      • Jim July 28, 2022 (12:27 pm)

        It is worth noting that these boats were built with electronic engine controls. They were very unreliable and resulted in many hard landings. They were later removed and replaced with conventional air controls. But a piece of dirt in the system can be an issue. BC Ferries now requires their C Class boats (basically the same design) engage the forward end gearbox something like a 1/4 mile from the terminal, instead of waiting to the last moment. The forward end gearbox provides extra reverse thrust and serves as a poor man’s bow thruster too.

  • Mason July 28, 2022 (10:20 am)

    Really really good reporting. Thank you. 

  • Um, No! July 28, 2022 (10:21 am)

    What tha…………………..?    Planes crashing, Ferries ramming docks?   What’s next? 

    • K. Davis July 28, 2022 (2:17 pm)

      House-swallowing giant sandworms.  Careful digging in your garden.  

      • WS Res July 28, 2022 (3:22 pm)

        You and Michelle above both win “comments of the day.”   

      • Bill July 28, 2022 (9:36 pm)

        The Palouse worms are on their way!

        • Bill July 28, 2022 (9:39 pm)

          Next December it will be ice worms!

  • Dr. McSheehy, Superintendent VISD July 28, 2022 (10:23 am)

    Vashon Island School District is aware of the incident involving the M/V Cathlamet and the Fauntleroy Dock in West Seattle this morning, July 28th. We are monitoring the situation and will provide information and more details as we learn more from Washington State Ferries. We encourage all VISD commuter families to look for more information regarding the start of the school year, including updates on WSF ferries, throughout the month of August. 

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (10:34 am)

      Thank you for the update.

  • wessyder July 28, 2022 (10:33 am)

    The dock isn’t seismically safe and needs to be replaced (see WSB article from May) and the ferry is 41 years old.    There is planning or plans underway to address both, but not in a timeline that is going to help any time soon (years and years out) AFAIK.  The bridge that is our main artery is out till this fall, and even then, I wonder how many years we’ve bought with those repairs.   We’ve gotta plan better, and eat costs earlier before it becomes really expensive, like the bridge has cost so many local businesses and everyone who has to commute.

  • Krista July 28, 2022 (10:39 am)

    FYI there is a foot passenger water taxi between Vashon and downtown

    https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/water-taxi/vashon.aspx

  • onion July 28, 2022 (10:44 am)

    S**t happens. But my thoughts are with the Vashon and Southworth commuters who need their cars and now have to contend with both this mess and the West Seattle Bridge detour. And the businesses, both on and off the island that will be impacted.

  • Michelle Galliano-Salinas July 28, 2022 (10:45 am)

    I hope they can add a foot ferry boat to help get people across from Marination dock until the Fauntleroy dock gets back opened up then move foot ferry service to there. ;

    • K July 28, 2022 (11:17 am)

      There is a foot passenger ferry from vashon to downtown! King county 

      • WSB July 28, 2022 (11:27 am)

        It runs only weekdays and during commute periods. We’re checking with KC Metro right now to see if they’ll be considering upping that if the dock is out of service for long.

  • SL July 28, 2022 (11:04 am)

    Why are people worried about getting their kids to school in September, when we are wondering how we are going to get home to the island today!?

    • Um, No! July 28, 2022 (1:05 pm)

       I’m guessing you take one of the two other routes onto the Island?

  • Fauntleroy Neighbor July 28, 2022 (11:13 am)

    Did all the people and cars get off the damaged ferry here safely – from this very last ferry to Fauntleroy in the foreseeable future?  That helicopter pilot must be getting dizzy from dozens and dozens of times circling the neighborhood.

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (11:28 am)

      We’re continuing to update above. USCG says two cars remain “stuck” on the boat. The people, however, all left OK.

  • brizone July 28, 2022 (11:27 am)

    Wow.  Another day, and yet another story about a major WSDOT or SDOT screwup.  <smh>

  • TimZen July 28, 2022 (11:46 am)

    The gondola people were right. No dolphins in the sky.  

  • Joanne M Simpson July 28, 2022 (11:57 am)

    The poor San Juan runs may be affected.  The state seems to take a boat of that run first.

  • 22blades July 28, 2022 (11:59 am)

    Famous last words: Could have been worse… Right in the middle of a job in Port Orchard that I need the ferry & caring for family on Capitol Hill that I need the bridge for. Oh well…

    • Rick July 29, 2022 (9:26 pm)

      Use that pilots license constructively.

  • Resilient Resident Commuter July 28, 2022 (12:12 pm)

    West Seattle and Vashon residents are some resilient commuters these last few years.  Something good is in store for us…….gotta be.

    We are darn lucky everyone is safe this week btw a ferry collision and plane crash on one of the hottest days of the year.

    PPP again for anyone in West Seattle and Vashon, lol! Kidding!

  • StopCuttingDownTrees July 28, 2022 (12:22 pm)

    🎶 “if not for courage of the fearless crew, the Cathlamet would be lost. The ship’s aground on the shore of this uncharted Northwest isle….” 🎵 

  • Chuck July 28, 2022 (12:47 pm)

    They are lucky no one was on that observation deck especially this time of year when tourists even us locals like to watch the Landing/launches.yes I am aware that most passengers are already in their cars /walk ons on the deck, but if this was Sea-Winslow or Bremerton. We would be reading A different outcome with multiple injuries.I’ve been riding these ferries my whole life (53yrs) and it seems to me that the professionalism and experience of a majority of the WSF ferry worker is very inexperienced from the captain on down…I’m glad to know no one was injured.

    • 22blades July 28, 2022 (2:08 pm)

      That’s exactly where we were standing on that same ferry when the plane that ditched at Alki flew over.LOL! ( rather nervously )The Sprit if Kalakala.

    • Auntie July 28, 2022 (5:50 pm)

      You might want to check into the stringent requirements for deck crew and captains of the ferries.  Ithink you will find your theory that they are inexperienced to be faulty. 

  • KT July 28, 2022 (12:53 pm)

    Upon entering service, the computerized propulsion system failed and resulted in the ferry demolishing docks at both Clinton and Mukilteo within weeks of one another. The ferry earned the nicknamed “Can’t Land It” and one local radio station made up a song called “The Wreck of the Ferry Cathlamet” set to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

    • Kat July 28, 2022 (5:37 pm)

      You are correct about the computerized propulsion systems having issues and causing several dock rammings. I was once married to one of the family members of the company that got the contract to build the ferries for the state of Washington. Awful!

  • Railroaded July 28, 2022 (12:58 pm)

    I guess it is fortunate that nobody was standing on that section of the ferry that was heavily damaged.

  • Vashon MG July 28, 2022 (1:09 pm)

    FYI – there’s a spent Chinese rocket booster that’s expected to crash back onto Earth this weekend, location not pinpointed for now. If I were a betting man, as of today I’d say West Seattle Bridge since it’s almost ready to re-open. [Hope not.]

    • T Rex July 28, 2022 (2:08 pm)

      Now that made me laugh at loud! Good one. 

    • Jumanji July 31, 2022 (7:28 am)

      Don’t worry, it’s reinforced with duct tape.

  • Alki resident July 28, 2022 (1:09 pm)

    Ok taking bets. What’s next for West Seattle drama?

    • Ivan Weiss July 28, 2022 (2:53 pm)

      Jort buys a big SUV?

      • John July 28, 2022 (3:54 pm)

        For all we know he might own a couple already.As a contingency plan.

    • Reed July 28, 2022 (7:11 pm)

      The low bridge breaks and I have to put my bike on the water taxi. Riding a few less miles per day would be a travesty.

  • bill July 28, 2022 (1:28 pm)

    Tangentially, last month I was on a ferry coming in to the Colman dock, on the bow with my bike. The ferry came in way too hot and was headed squarely for the portside dolphin. The forward screw finally went astern and then powered up like I have never seen before. If the engines have an emergency power capability they were using it. The captain missed the dolphin but hit the dock rather hard.

  • Sparky July 28, 2022 (2:14 pm)

    Planes falling from the sky and now a ferry ramming the dock.  Are these some strange omens or what?  

  • Jamie Jamison July 28, 2022 (2:36 pm)

    Can we cut the crap? The Cathlamet didn’t have a “hard landing”. The Cathlamet crashed! Euphemistic garbage phrases like “hard landing” don’t describe how bad the damage to the ferry is and how screwed everyone who depends upon ferry service between Fauntleroy, Vashon and Southworth is. 

  • Liberato Napat July 28, 2022 (2:46 pm)

    Around 8:20 am today 7 /28/22,I saw the ferry  about 100 feet away  approaching the first dolphine structure at full speed .So I stop walking and wondering why she is coming too fast , and looking at the stern the propeller pitch doesnt change it seems she still in full speed, not showing a reversing pitch .and finally hit the first dolphin structure by her port bow and made her change direction toward the southern side of the dock and going toward the beach, and that how I saw no movement on the  stern and finally it shows she is reversing.She did not hit the Dock.there should be no issue on the Ferry Dock..please dont make excuses to repair the Dock..I am former-CGAux  24 and ex Merchant mariner.

    • Fred Lanctot July 28, 2022 (4:27 pm)

      I used to machine the propellers for the biggest ferries(Issaquah class(?)) in the 70’s & 80’s. They were NOT controllable pitch. So I don’t KNOW if this class of ferries are controllable pitch. I kinda doubt they are. They may be able to stop the shaft and reverse the shaft/prop rotation to slow the boat, while they engage the bow end prop to slow the boat.

      • Drew July 28, 2022 (5:22 pm)

        The Issaquah class ferries are CPP.  The three prior classes (Jumbo, Super, Evergreen State) were not. They were diesel-electric with fixed pitch propellers.

      • Rick July 29, 2022 (9:27 pm)

        Coolidge Propeller?

  • PD July 28, 2022 (2:59 pm)

    WSea residents are amazing. Everyone is an expert tunnel, bridge and ship engineer. 

    • John July 28, 2022 (3:57 pm)

      Except for reading a map.People keep referring to West Seattle as an island.

      • come on July 28, 2022 (5:36 pm)

        Lighten up, Francis.  We all know it’s not really an island.  

        • cjboffoli July 28, 2022 (6:35 pm)

          It only FEELS like an island.

          • BlairJ July 28, 2022 (9:47 pm)

            About ten thousand years ago it was an island.

  • i'll never live there - resident for 22 yrs July 28, 2022 (3:05 pm)

    Island life – gotta love it!  This happens every 25 years or so

  • Susan July 28, 2022 (3:10 pm)

    Ferry has just departed the dock.  Looks like she’s heading toward Vashon.  To tie up at the second slip there until …..  (?)

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (3:12 pm)

      Just added a photo above.

  • Ferrygirl July 28, 2022 (3:43 pm)

    The Kitsap Ferry is on it’s way to Vashon, the full schedule will resume today.

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (4:27 pm)

      Yes, that was reported above. We’ve been updating the story throughout the day with every new bit of information.

  • Drew July 28, 2022 (5:36 pm)

    Marine Traffic shows the boat in Bainbridge. The fact that she’s been driving around under her own power lessens the likelihood that this was a mechanical issue. Unfortunately for the crew in the wheelhouse.  A bad day on the water either way. 

    • WSB July 28, 2022 (6:09 pm)

      It was tied up at Vashon and then at some point scheduled to head to Eagle Harbor; when the photo was taken, it was at Vashon. I haven’t looked in the past half-hour or so.

  • valvashon July 28, 2022 (6:50 pm)

    Great video Diane! Thank you for holding your phone sideways, especially when rolling on a large wide object like a ferry!

  • Crystal July 28, 2022 (7:04 pm)

    Check the history.  When my Aunt and Uncle first moved to West Seattle there was no ferry dock at this location and no notification that one was coming to the south end of Lincoln Park.  They just woke up one morning and there were some pontoons set up on private property and boats unloading.  Property was confiscated and dock was built.  

    • JAT July 29, 2022 (8:49 am)

      Interesting, Crystal – your aunt and uncle must’ve moved to West Seattle a long time ago.  Betty MacDonald’s Onions in the Stew published in 1954 states that she’s describing events commencing 12 years earlier including riding the bus from downtown to the Fauntleroy dock in a snow storm  – only to find that the boat had hit, yes, the dolphins, putting the dock out of commission and having to ride the bus back to the downtown dock which was now providing emergency service.

    • Community Member July 29, 2022 (9:45 am)

      The city of Seattle acquired the land for Lincoln Park in 1922. The Fauntleroy Ferry Dock opened in  1925.  Here’s a picture of cars waiting for the ferry in 1937.

  • WS resident July 28, 2022 (7:37 pm)

    Driving north on Fauntleroy today was a delight, no self entitled idiots whipping their car around crossing double yellow lines to get in line before the next person doing the same thing. I almost rear ended a dude just yesterday with my baby in the car when he slammed his brakes so hard I could hardly stop from 15 miles an hour. Sorry for the commuters but maybe virtual work or foot ferry for a bit? Going around through Tacoma is always an option, albeit a bit longer- at least there is another way. Accidents happen.

  • James July 28, 2022 (9:23 pm)

    Allergies make you sneeze

  • Ronin July 28, 2022 (9:35 pm)

    Reverse thrust mechanism didn’t work.

  • Ronin July 28, 2022 (9:45 pm)

    Reverse thrust didn’t work.  I was on a ferry trip one time when a sail boat crossed our path and it managed to almost a full stop, the sound resembling an anti lock brakes but a hundred times stronger.  Everyone gave a thumbs up to the sail boat only it wasn’t the thumb.

  • Rick F July 29, 2022 (7:37 am)

    The ferry came from the south of the dock, for some reason.

    I was on this exact same ferry 90 mins prior. It was the first landing of the day for Fauntleroy. At that time we too came in from the south. Being the very first vehicle, because I am vanpool, I saw the reason why we came from the south is that a barge crossed in front of the ferry and we went around it to avoid hitting it. This is the second time in a week that a barge has crossed in front of the ferry. Last week, a barge caused a huge wake, and even being as heavy as the ferry is, carrying 140 cars, the ferry wobbled side-to-side, up-and-down when it hit the wake.

    I thought there were maritime rules that barges had to be a certain distance from the ferry, or stop while the ferry proceeded in front of the ferry given that we’re transportation. and we take precedence.

  • Mary July 29, 2022 (8:03 am)

    Could we take the money currently being allocated to “marijuana awareness” campaigns (currently $10 million a year. Trust us, we’re all aware of the cannabis industry) and spend it on a new boat, please?

  • Jan LP July 29, 2022 (4:44 pm)

    I was on the boat when it crashed and it was very scary.  I could see the upper port side of the boat come crashing in with what seemed to be a lot of smoke.  It was not an experience I’ll soon forget, and so thankful no one was hurt!

  • Karol July 30, 2022 (11:46 am)

    How ironic that this cartoon has been on our family refrigerator since 1982!  Came really close to happening on Thursday!

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