King County Water Taxi 309 results

WATER TAXI ALERT: West Seattle, Vashon cancellations later today

Just in from Metro:

King County Water Taxi service will be reduced this afternoon, Wednesday, June 22, on the West Seattle and Vashon routes due to a shortage of available workforce.

The following trips are affected:

Downtown to West Seattle: departures at 5:25 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. are canceled.
West Seattle to downtown: departures at 5:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. are canceled.
Downtown to Vashon: the departure at 6:30 p.m. is canceled.
Vashon to Downtown: the departure at 6:58 p.m. is canceled.

Please note: The 5:30 p.m. is the last trip of the day operating from downtown to Vashon. There is also a two-hour gap in scheduled sailings to West Seattle between the 4:45 p.m. trip and the 6:45 p.m. trip and riders are encouraged to consider alternate travel plans.

Other scheduled trips are expected to operate using available crew members.

We’ll update if anything changes.

WATER TAXI ALERT: West Seattle runs canceled because of vessel trouble

May 18, 2022 6:20 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

6:20 PM: Just in from Metro:

One engine on the Spirit of Kingston is having difficulty and due to high winds, the remaining trips between downtown Seattle and West Seattle have been canceled. During this time, Water Taxi shuttle routes 773 and 775 will continue to operate as usual in West Seattle.

Transportation options are listed in the full alert.

11 PM UPDATE: Normal service will resume tomorrow morning, Metro says – while also confirming that the midday service suspension for dock work at Seacrest will happen again on Thursday as planned.

WATER TAXI ALERT: No midday service for up to 4 days next week

11:14 AM: Just announced by Metro:

Scheduled repairs to the Seacrest Dock in West Seattle will close the dock during the midday sailing hours between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm from Monday, May 16 through Thursday, May 19. Should work complete early, notification regarding service resumption will follow.

We’re following up to see what the repairs entail.

ADDED 2:14 PM: Water Taxi spokesperson Al Sanders tells us it’s actually maintenance: “The time is needed to complete the final phase of dock maintenance at Seacrest Park which had been scheduled for mid-April but was delayed due to supply chain issues. The contractor is planning on three days of work with one day as a buffer, so it is possible to resume service earlier based on their success in executing the work.”

WATER TAXI CHANGES: Reduced service Monday-Wednesday; summer schedule starts Thursday

Two reminders for West Seattle Water Taxi riders: No service between the morning and evening commute hours (9:10 am to 3:25 pm) tomorrow through Wednesday (April 18-19-20) because of crew training/drills. Then on Thursday, the summer schedule begins. Since the Water Taxi already has been running year-round, the main change is the return of later evening service on Fridays and Saturdays, until mid-October.

WATER TAXI: Shuttle service restored to all runs starting Monday

(WSB file photo)

Back when we first reported that the West Seattle Water Taxi‘s summer season would launch April 21st, Metro hadn’t yet finalized the summer shuttle schedule. Now it has, and shuttle service is being restored to all runs as of tomorrow (Monday, March 28th). Metro’s announcement says that “all Water Taxi sailings will be met with shuttle service.” The online schedules for shuttle Routes 773 and 775 don’t yet reflect this, however; we’ll be asking about that tomorrow. Though the Water Taxi has stayed on a seven-days-a-week schedule throughout this bridgeless winter, the shuttle buses did not.

WATER TAXI ALERT: West Seattle route delay

March 21, 2022 3:55 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

3:55 PM: From Metro: “The West Seattle Water Taxi is delayed this evening while crews swap vessels due to a mechanical issue aboard the MV Sally Fox. We hope to resume normal service shortly. Apologies for the inconvenience.”

4:28 PM: Metro’s Al Sanders says the crews are still working this out and he has no update yet on which vessel is taking over which route.

5:18 PM: The Spirit of Kingston is taking over the West Seattle run for the rest of the day and will resume service at 5:25 from Pier 50 downtown.

You asked, so we asked: What’s ahead for West Seattle’s Water Taxi

(WSB Tuesday photo, Water Taxi dock at Seacrest)

Karen emailed to ask if Metro had announced plans for spring/summer-season changes on the West Seattle Water Taxi schedule, so we inquired. You might recall that the pre-pandemic routine was for the WT to go weekdays-only through late fall, winter, and early spring, but this year, after public clamor because of the West Seattle Bridge closure, the service has continued in 7-days-a-week mode, though the shuttle buses are on reduced schedules. Metro spokesperson Al Sanders tells WSB, “The West Seattle Water Taxi will begin its summer schedule on April 21. The only change from the current winter schedule will be the addition of late-night departures on Fridays and Saturdays.” Will the shuttle schedule ramp back up? Sanders says that’s not decided yet, “Summer shuttle schedule is also TBD. Marine (Division) is waiting to hear back from Service Planning on if their contracted service provider will be able to expand the current schedule.”

CONGRATULATIONS! National recognition for West Seattle Water Taxi crew members’ sailboat rescue

Last August, we reported on the crew of the West Seattle Water Taxi spotting and rescuing two people from an overturned sailboat.

(August 2021 through-a-telescope photo sent by Rodney)

Later that month, three M/V Doc Maynard crew members involved in the rescue were honored by King County leaders. And now, they’ve received national recognition. The county has announced that Capt. Brad Johnson and deckhands GW Rogers and Jay White received the Passenger Vessel Association’s Capt. Elizabeth Gedney Passenger Vessel Safety Award. The PVA explains the award’s purpose in part:

Every year, PVA members are involved in real-life man-overboard and other life-saving situations. It is these types of events that need to be recognized because we understand the safety training that PVA vessel operators have can make the difference between life and death, and they do it efficiently and effectively.

The announcement says Captain Johnson and Marine Division Director Paul Brodeur accepted the award during the Passenger Vessel Association’s annual meeting in Kentucky.

UPDATE: West Seattle Water Taxi service interrupted by state-ferry threat investigation

12:26 PM: Just in from King County Water Taxi: “The West Seattle Water Taxi’s 12:30 pm departure from Downtown Seattle has been canceled. At this time, we do not know when service will resume. Apologies for the delay.” The alert doesn’t explain the cancellation/interruption – but Colman Dock is currently closed for investigation of a threat reportedly involving the Bainbridge state ferry. Updates to come.

12:32 PM: The threat investigation also has Bainbridge/Bremerton state-ferry service on hold.

(Added: Webcam image from WSF Bainbridge terminal area)

What’s described as an “active bomb threat” was apparently centered on the Bainbridge terminal; on the Seattle side, officers with K9s are checking a vessel from that route, M/V Tacoma, so that’s why Colman Dock is currently closed.

12:48 PM: Colman Dock has just reopened. Tracker shows the Water Taxi vessel Doc Maynard is still at Seacrest, so whenever it gets the all-clear, it’ll still have to cross the bay to get to the passengers waiting there.

1:11 PM: The Water Taxi has resumed service. (added) WSF has been cleared to resume regular service in Seattle and Bainbridge, too.

WATER TAXI ALERT: Mechanical trouble

January 24, 2022 1:04 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

The King County Water Taxi‘s 1:00 pm run to downtown from Seacrest Park is running up to 20 minutes late, according to Metro: “Vessel Captain and crew had to switch vessels due to unexpected issue with a generator.” We’ll update if that leads to any additional problems later in the day.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: King County Water Taxi’s new pet policy unleashed

(WSB photo)

No, the dogs aren’t unleashed, just the policy. A few canine companions of Metro employees joined King County Executive Dow Constantine at a brief Seacrest event this morning to spotlight the new policy allowing dogs (leashed) and cats (in carriers) aboard the King County Water Taxi. We mentioned the policy change on Tuesday. What about other pets? readers wondered, so we asked. Maybe down the road, Metro says. We also asked whether this really entailed more than just saying hey, guess what, you can bring your dog or cat aboard. Answer: Yes – it required U.S. Coast Guard approval, because of capacity limits. You can read the full KCWT pet policy (just one page long) here.

Side note – independent of the new policy, one dog had a backstory:

Jim is holding KC Metro, adopted after being found, abandoned, on board a Metro Route 36 bus.

WATER TAXI: Want to take your dog or cat on board? Finally you can

While dogs and cats are allowed on Metro buses, they haven’t been allowed on the King County Water Taxi – until now. Metro has just announced the policy change to allow pets on board both the West Seattle and Vashon Island routes. The announcement says, “The new policy allowing cats (in carriers) and dogs (on a leash or in a carrier) is the result of the Water Taxi staff listening and responding to the needs of riders. A growing number of riders use the Water Taxi as an alternative to driving, but for some it only works if they can bring their pet for the trip.” King County Executive Dow Constantine plans to formally announce the change during a media event at Seacrest tomorrow.

FOLLOWUP: Water Taxi returning to regular West Seattle, Vashon service

January 4, 2022 1:44 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

1:44 PM: Metro says West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi service should both return to regular schedules later today. You’ll recall that both M/V Sally Fox and M/V Doc Maynard were out of service for propeller problems, so M/V Spirit of Kingston was going to handle both routes – then windy weather canceled Vashon runs this morning. We asked about the plan for this afternoon/evening, and Metro spokesperson Al Sanders replied, “Water Taxi crew is on its way to pick up the Sally Fox for Vashon service tonight. We should be back to regular service on both routes.”

3:01 PM: That said, Metro has just announced one change in the transition: “3:00 PM Water Taxi departure from West Seattle canceled due to lack of crew. The Water Taxi will resume regular service beginning with the 3:25 departure from downtown Seattle.”

WATER TAXI: Reduced service Tuesday with both regular boats in for repairs

Just announced by King County Metro – “On Monday, both the MV Sally Fox and MV Doc Maynard damaged propellers during service. We are coordinating with shipyards to get these vessels repaired and returned to service ASAP. The backup vessel MV Spirit of Kingston will be operating on both routes.” That means service reductions for both the West Seattle and Vashon runs – the modified schedule is here.

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Here’s what will change in extended season

Tomorrow was originally set as the end of spring/summer all-day, 7-day service for the West Seattle Water Taxi. Then, by community request, SDOT and King County Metro worked out a plan to keep it going through this winter since the West Seattle Bridge is still closed. There are a few changes to note, though, Water Taxi spokesperson Al Sanders tells WSB:

The extended Water Taxi service, with seven day a week service (M-F: 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.—Sat-Sun 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), starts Saturday, October 16, with funding from the Seattle Department of Transportation. A reminder to bike riders – the vessels are now equipped with racks that can handle up to 26 “fat tire” and electric bikes.

(King County Metro photo)

Starting on Saturday, shuttle service to the Seacrest Dock (773/775) will be available only during peak-commuter hours Mon-Fri. (6:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m./3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.)

Metro plans to keep the regular full-size vessel M/V Doc Maynard on the route through fall and winter.

WATER TAXI ALERT: No West Seattle service this weekend

(WSB photo from August, Water Taxi dock @ Seacrest)

No West Seattle Water Taxi service this weekend, because of dock work. Here’s what Al Sanders at Metro tells WSB:

The Water Taxi dock at Seacrest Park is in need of maintenance and will be closed this weekend, October 9th and 10th. Operations from West Seattle will cease after the 11 pm sailing on Friday October 8th and will resume again on Monday October 11th with the 6:15 am sailing. The weekend work will be separating two of the floats, replacing the rubber cushions and the connecting wires between the floats.

WATER TAXI ALERT: More vessel trouble

4:03 PM: One day after the Spirit of Kingston took over the West Seattle Water Taxi run because the Doc Maynard needs repairs, it’s experiencing trouble. According to an alert from Metro, the Spirit of Kingston “has had some debris get lodged into one of its four jet engines. The vessel is still in service; however, we are expecting delays this evening.”

4:49 PM: We asked Water Taxi spokesperson Al Sanders for details on the “debris”; he says they suspect “it was a mooring line.”

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Doc Maynard out for repairs

September 20, 2021 3:34 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

(MV Doc Maynard – WSB file photo)

The Spirit of Kingston is replacing Doc Maynard on the West Seattle Water Taxi run until further notice. After Metro sent that announcement this afternoon, we asked spokesperson Al Sanders why. He explains, “The Doc Maynard is going to the shipyard for repairs to the vessel’s propeller. The issue was discovered during the morning run and it was taken out of service.” The swap is notable since the Spirit of Kingston’s 149-passenger capacity is only about half that of Doc Maynard, but Metro says ridership has been averaging “well below” 149. Sanders says there’s no estimate yet how long Doc Maynard will be out of service.

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Early start both days this weekend

According to an alert tonight from Metro, the West Seattle Water Taxi will start early both days this weekend because of the Orca Half half-marathon. The first runs of the morning on Saturday and Sunday this weekend will be 7:30 am from Pier 50 downtown and 8 am from Seacrest. Shuttles from Seacrest will start early too. This is in addition to the regular schedule, which you can see here. The Orca Half will be run both days between 7:30 am and 1 pm, on sidewalks and trails from Lincoln Park to Don Armeni Boat Ramp, as previewed here. (Water Taxi side note: New bike racks!)

WATER TAXI: West Seattle run will stay on 7-day schedule through winter after all

12:42 PM: Speaking of the West Seattle Water Taxi, just announced at the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting – it will stay on a 7-day-a-week schedule throughout the upcoming bridgeless winter after all. Until now, plans had been in place to switch the service back to a 5-day-a-week schedule in mid-October. The topic came up at last month’s CTF meeting; city reps said at the time that it would be costly. How costly? We asked Metro afterward; they said it would cost at least a million dollars. We’re still pursuing more specifics but apparently the city found the cash to pay the county to keep the 7-day-a-week service going through the winter.

1:32 PM: SDOT has since sent a news release that has this added information:

Thanks to SDOT funding, Water Taxi service this fall and winter will remain similar to the summer daytime schedule:

*Seven day a week service between Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Pier 50 downtown from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
*Ships will leave the dock every 35 minutes during weekday peak commute hours and every hour mid-day, evenings, and weekends. 
*The expanded service will not include late night Friday and Saturday sailings after 7:00 p.m.

According to information we had previously obtained from Metro, the estimated cost of keeping the late-night sailings would have been about a third higher:

WATER TAXI ALERT: 1 pm departure cancelled

September 15, 2021 12:10 pm
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 |   King County Water Taxi | West Seattle news

From the King County Water Taxi:

Maintenance is being completed on the Seacrest passenger boarding ramp, causing us to cancel the 1:00 pm departure from West Seattle. We hope to resume regularly scheduled service beginning with the 1:30 pm departure from downtown. We apologize for the inconvenience.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Water Taxi crew honored for rescue off Seacrest

(August 11th photo by Carolyn Newman)

Twelve days after the crew of the West Seattle Water Taxi, M/V Doc Maynard, rescued two people after their sailboat capsized off Seacrest, they were recognized today for their heroism.

(King County photo)

King County Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine presented a certificate of recognition today to Water Taxi crew members including, center L-R above, Deckhand GW Rogers, Captain Brad Johnson, and Deckhand Jay White. You can see the certificate here.

UPDATE: Water Taxi crew rescues boaters off West Seattle

12:38 PM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us about what’s logged as a “marine service response” off Harbor/Alki Avenues. They report the West Seattle Water Taxi “rescued (a person) who had turtled his craft and couldn’t get it upright.” SFD sent fireboats. We’re following up.

12:42 PM: We’ve also heard from Karen, who was on the Water Taxi when this happened, and reports the rescue involved an “overturned sailboat off Duwamish Head,” adding, “We were on the water taxi when it diverted from the route to rescue them. Kudos to the crew!”

1:08 PM: Thanks to Rodney for the through-a-telescope photo. Meantime, we’re hoping to get more rescue details from Metro (which manages the Water Taxi).

2 PM: Our original texter, Roxanne, says the Coast Guard has brought the sailboat in. (added) Doug and Shari sent this photo:

3:18 PM: Here’s what we just received from Water Taxi/Metro spokesperson Al Sanders in response to our inquiry (photos included):

The crew of the West Seattle Water Taxi Doc Maynard rescued two boaters whose sailboat capsized off Duwamish Head shortly after 12:00 p.m.

The Doc Maynard had just left West Seattle’s Seacrest Dock on its 12:00 p.m. sailing to downtown Seattle when the crew spotted two people in the water next to a capsized sailboat.

The water taxi pulled next to the sailboat and deployed their rescue platform and life sling, but the two people were unable to use the sling.

One of the crew of the Doc Maynard then got into the boat’s rescue suit, went into the water, and assisted the people into the sling and onto the water taxi.

The Doc Maynard returned to Seacrest Dock with rescued passengers of the boat and were met by Coast Guard. The boaters worked with the Coast Guard to retrieve their capsized vessel.

After bringing the boaters to the dock, the Doc Maynard resumed its regular schedule.