With Thanksgiving coming up later this week, Washington State Ferries made a challenging decision to pull the 80-year old Steel Electric class ferries, the Quinault, Klickitat, Illahee and Nisqually, from operating service to examine the hulls of these ships. Hull pitting on the Quinault has officials concerned about weak hull structure and safety. The Steel Electric class ferries are the only boats that can navigate the shallow and narrow waterways of the Keystone harbor.

To help lessen the impacts of the loss of passenger-vehicle service on Port Townsend-Keystone, WSF will:

  • Operate three vessels on the Edmonds-Kingston route from Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday evening, November 25 to handle the extra traffic expected over the Thanksgiving weekend. This route is the best detour for people traveling from the Olympic Peninsula to Whidbey Island.
  • Operate the high-speed passenger ferry Snohomish between Port Townsend and Keystone. WSF is making every attempt to have the service up and running by Friday, November 23 to serve customers during their Thanksgiving travel. The passenger ferry will maintain the current schedule.

If you recall, the Snohomish and the Chinook were placed up for sale last week but due to this issue the vessels are in dry dock and will operate on the Port Townsend – Keystone route.

More at WSDOT – http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2007/11/20_steelelectricferriesoutofservice.htm

Seattle Times – http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004027510_webferry21m.html

Seattle Post-Intelligencer – http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/340508_ferry21.html