Weekly update

Each week, WSDOT Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello, the head of Washington State Ferries, emails an update to staff, colleagues and stakeholders. 

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If you have suggestions or comments about the WSF Weekly Update, email WSFWeeklyUpdate@wsdot.wa.gov.

Each January, there is a special edition recapping the previous year. View the 2020 Year in Review (pdf 1.8 mb).

Here is the latest edition of the WSF Weekly Update:

May 6, 2021

Service changes across system due to Wenatchee fire

When we unexpectedly lose one of our largest ferries (Puyallup, Tacoma and Wenatchee), there are cascading effects across our system. With Wenatchee out of service for several months due to a recent fire and continuing pandemic-related vessel crewing challenges for quarantines and vaccinations, we were forced to make some difficult decisions affecting service on the following routes:

  • Seattle/Bainbridge: Smaller 188-vehicle Walla Walla, 144-vehicle Kaleetan or 124-vehicle Issaquah on route through at least July 25. Temporarily operating out of Slip 3 at Colman Dock starting Thursday, May 13, for about seven weeks.
  • Seattle/Bremerton: Slower and smaller 64-vehicle Salish on route starting Thursday, May 13, requiring a schedule adjustment that eliminates an early afternoon round trip until at least June 27. Temporarily operating out of Slip 1 at Colman Dock starting Thursday, May 13, for about seven weeks.
  • Mukilteo/Clinton: Smaller 124-vehicle Kittitas or Chelan on route for most of summer.
  • Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: At least June 7 for restoration of three-boat service. Originally scheduled to start Sunday, May 9. Smaller 90-vehicle Sealth on route starting Thursday, May 13, and continuing until at least June 27.
  • Port Townsend/Coupeville: At least June 27 for start of two-boat service. Originally scheduled to start Sunday, May 9, then delayed until at least June 7.

Photo of Wenatchee at Eagle Harbor
Wenatchee used one of its four engines with a tug assist to return to our Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility last month following an engine room fire.

We are still planning to go to our “peak season” sailing schedule starting Sunday, May 9, on our Anacortes/San Juan Islands route, where timetables will be like previous summer schedules without a fifth vessel that mainly served Sidney, British Columbia.

I understand these changes will affect many riders and communities at a time when our ridership is increasing. Later this month, we will be discussing these service changes during our virtual public meetings, which we will have more details on in the coming week. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Public Service Recognition Week

This week is Public Service Recognition Week, when we honor the women and men who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. I would like to recognize and thank all our employees who work hard to provide safe ferry service to millions of riders each year! Running the largest ferry system in the country takes dedication and skill. I couldn’t be prouder of our team!

Photo of crewmembers aboard Tacoma working
In addition to our crews and terminal staff, our public service employees include designers, engineers and much more!

Customer kudos

“Tribute to my ‘Wallet Angels’ [Ordinary Seamen] Patty Stokes & Olga Kolomytseva. You guys rock! You made my day and the world needs more like you [...] Background... traveling home from Poulsbo to Yakima. Wallet slipped out of pocket onto seat. Sweep by crew at docking [encountered] my wallet and [facilitated] its return”

Photo of crewmember holding up lost wallet on deck of a ferry

-Seattle/Bainbridge customer on Facebook

Patty Rubstello
Assistant Secretary, WSDOT/Ferries Division