FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth down to 1 boat, replacement on the way

10:54 AM: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route is down to 1 boat for now – M/V Cathlamet, on the #2 schedule – because M/V Kitsap is having trouble. It’s been stuck at Southworth but WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling tells WSB the plan is to move it to Vashon, without passengers, for troubleshooting. Until they figure out what’s wrong, they don’t know how long the route will be on 1-boat service. You can check boats’ status via Vessel Watch.

12:54 PM: WSF says the Cathlamet continues alone on the route, with “no set schedule.”

2:42 PM: WSF says it’s moving M/V Suquamish off the Bainbridge-Seattle route to replace Kitsap on the Triangle Route.

11 Replies to "FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth down to 1 boat, replacement on the way"

  • Eldorado December 6, 2023 (11:05 am)

    Why does the Vashon/Fauntleroy/Southworth route seem to experience a hugely disproportionate amount of issues and mechanical problems compared to the other routes? I mean seriously. Is there a funding gap? I rarely if ever hear about a boat down on the Bainbridge route? Do they have better boats? Better mechanics? Or is it has simple as they have a bigger budget. Asking for a friend. 

    • WSB December 6, 2023 (11:07 am)

      The other routes have plenty of problems. I get alerts for all of them.

      • Eldorado December 6, 2023 (12:36 pm)

        Thanks for your reply. But they’ve been down to two boats since 2021 without offering any solution, it seems. Like more frequent passenger only boats, for example. Does that qualify as a resource problem? A staffing problem? Or?

    • Karl December 6, 2023 (2:01 pm)

      I work at Fauntleroy and we refer to this route as the “Bermuda Triangle.”  Boats do seem to have a lot of mechanical issues on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, and I don’t know if it’s the constant starting/stopping, or some other reason.   These same boats run to the San Juans, between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island, and have no issues, but once they’re on The Triangle, they start having issues. 

      • Eldorado December 6, 2023 (2:25 pm)

        Thanks for your perspective Karl. That’s the sense I get too. Is there a chart/data sheet that is available to the public listing number of scheduled trips per ferry route which don’t make the trip due to mechanical issues versus staffing versus miscellaneous issues? And/or a record of how many days any particular ferry route is without a vessel (or in this case two vessels) that have been removed from service. Thanks. 

    • 22blades December 7, 2023 (5:41 am)

      I think another factor is the the run has shorter legs & more cycles of docking. I asked a Captain one time how many landings he did in a day. Coming from the aircraft world, the number was kind of nuts.

    • Carl December 7, 2023 (12:58 pm)

      Doesn’t the Bainbridge route get the newest boats?  Aren’t the other runs significantly older

      • WSB December 7, 2023 (1:05 pm)

        In the times before WSF’s current woes, the Bainbridge route generally had the largest boats, not the newest ones. Currently (now that Kitsap is back on Triangle so Suquamish could return to Bainbridge) it has Tacoma, 26 years old and part of the largest class of ferries, and Suquamish, 5 years old, part of the newest class of ferries.


  • Bainbridge ferry rider December 6, 2023 (11:24 am)

    I can attest to the fact that Bainbridge has plenty of issues.   I regularly have to choose between the two to get back to W Seattle from the peninsula.   It’s a crapshoot.   I end up taking Southworth/Fauntleroy quite a bit due to Bainbridge issues.

  • Ian MacDowell December 6, 2023 (11:30 am)

    And then there was one.

  • Veronnica Kelly December 6, 2023 (12:11 pm)

    The ferry lost steering and ran into the dock in southworth. There route to southworth was down. They did a vashon back to Fauntleroy run at 10:30 and back to Fauntleroy by 11am. Coast guard will have to clear the kitsap before it is ready to sail again assuming they were able to restore the stearing.

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