Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I wanted to update you on the status of the Anderson Island ferry as we head into the Labor Day weekend. As with many things, plans are often more complicated than expected and it now appears the Steilacoom II will not be back in service until as late as mid-October.
After the vessel returns, the M/V Christine Anderson is also scheduled for a dockside engine and gear rebuild which will put that boat out of commission for several more weeks. Thus there is the the potential for an even longer period of single-vessel operation into late fall.
In the past, the county has worked with the state to "borrow" their ferry - the M/V Hiyu - whenever one or more of our boats are out of service. However, that agreement has expired and the state does not want to recommit to a new agreement as their vessel crew has been reassigned onto other vessels. They are still open to allowing the county to charter the M/V Hiyu though they would need to pull a crew together at the time of the request since a crew is not actively assigned to the vessel.
The county is working to secure an agreement with Kitsap Transit and the Department of Corrections for contingent use of their ferries for passenger-only service. Public Works also contacted Argosy Cruises, however they are somewhat reluctant to commit given their current operational schedule.
The bottom line is, there will still be regular ferry service to and from the islands and ferry riders shouldn't experience anything different from their normal routine. However without a dedicated backup boat, should something go awry there could be a scramble to maintain service.
I'm working closely with the Public Works Department's Airport and Ferries Division to ensure we're not left in such a precarious position in the future, and will keep you updated as progress is made. In the meantime, have a safe and relaxing Labor Day Weekend and feel free to contact me should you have any questions, comments or concerns.