BREMERTON, Wash. - The Bremerton-Seattle state ferry crossing will be down to one-boat service "until further notice" because of a propulsion issue found on the ferry Cathlamet.
Washington State Ferries estimates it will take at least a month for repairs to be completed on the Cathlamet, which was sailing on the state’s "Triangle" Southworth-Vashon Island-Fauntleroy route, the Kitsap Sun reported.
That route has been operating on reduced service during the pandemic, and the issue on the Cathlamet took the route down to one vessel Thursday morning. The agency diverted the Sealth, which was bound for Bremerton, to the Triangle, leaving the Bremerton with only the ferry Kitsap.
WSF spokesman Ian Sterling said it’s unclear how long Bremerton will be down its second vessel and pointed to the "shallow bench" the agency has, with 21 boats, which he said are all either being worked on are or in service.
"There aren’t a lot of boats," he said. "We’ve been retiring boats as they age out and we forget they’re old. We don’t have the number of boats we used to have when something goes wrong."
Work is underway on a new hybrid-electric ferry to add to the state’s fleet, and transportation budget proposals introduced in both houses of the Legislature in January included some funding dedicated toward two additional vessels. The state, Sterling said, is likely "several years away from being able to have a fleet that has the right number of backup boats, but right now this is the situation we’re in."
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