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Home » Archives » May 2010 » Vessel Downsizing For Memorial Day Weekend

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05/19/2010: "Vessel Downsizing For Memorial Day Weekend"


Beginning Monday, May 24 through the Memorial Day weekend the 34-car Hiyu will replace the 87-car Evergreen State on the inter-island route. Customers should plan ahead for this temporary capacity reduction and expect longer wait times.


While the Hiyu is serving the route, the 11:05 a.m. sailing from Friday Harbor will take inter-island traffic to Lopez. WSF is moving vessels to conduct a required emergency response exercise on Tuesday, May 25, and to complete necessary repairs on the 124-car Chelan. When the Chelan repairs are completed (after the holiday weekend), the 90-car Sealth will serve the inter-island route.

Also, vehicle customers departing Orcas at 9:45pm westbound to Friday Harbor may now remain on the vessel for the 10:30pm departure from Friday Harbor to Anacortes

The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division (WSF) is participating in a full-scale marine rescue response exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday, May 25. This critical emergency response exercise requires the use of two state ferries " the 124-car Chelan, and the 87-car Evergreen State. To provide these vessels for the exercise and cover service will require six vessel moves. This required exercise must be completed before the summer to avoid disrupting service during the highest traffic volumes of the year.

The 144-car Elwha, currently serving the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route, will fill in for the Chelan on the Anacortes/Sidney B.C. route. The 144-car Kaleetan will provide domestic service in place of the Elwha. The 34-car Hiyu will replace the Evergreen State on the San Juans inter-island route. Travelers should expect a significant vehicle-capacity reduction on the inter-island sailings and are advised to arrive early and allow extra time while the Hiyu serves the inter-island route.

The Sealth will serve the Seattle/Bremerton route, allowing the larger Kaleetan to carry the heavy recreational traffic in the San Juans during the holiday weekend. The Sealth will be paired with the 188-car Walla Walla, maintaining overall capacity on the Bremerton route.

“We urge our customers to plan very far in advance for Memorial Day weekend travel,” said David Moseley, Assistant Secretary for WSF. “We have planned to the best of our ability, with a lack of backup vessels, to meet service demands and prioritize emergency preparedness. We ask for every customer’s understanding as we move into this challenging period.”

WSF had planned to use the 90-car Sealth for the marine evacuation exercise; however, emerging repair needs on the Chelan necessitated the switch. Crews at the Eagle Harbor Maintenance facility on Bainbridge Island will perform repairs to the Chelan’s propeller system following its use in the emergency response exercise, which is taking place near Point Madison on the north end of the island. Once the Chelan repairs are completed, there will be a series of vessel moves that will restore capacity on the San Juans inter-island route with the Sealth.

For more ferry system information, please visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.

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