Morgan Cross / News staff
Due to a generator failure, the M/V Yakima ferry is down for the Sidney/San Juan Islands/Anacortes route until at least the end of July. One of five ferries running in Washington State and one of two ferries running the popular summer route between Vancouver Island and Anacortes, the loss of the M/V Yakima means trips have been cancelled, Washington State Ferries has been forced to initiate a four-boat emergency schedule, and ferries will leave Sidney to Anacortes only once each day. The alternate Washington schedule is available online at bit.ly/AnaSJsTempSchedule.
Those holding reservations will have priority for future departures on the route while others will be admitted as usual on a first-come, first-served basis. No-show fees will not be charged to those who reserved but have chosen not to travel the Sidney/San Juan Islands/Anacortes route. The daily international morning departure time has been cancelled until the Yakima is repaired or its replacement instated, while the afternoon time remains in effect. International travellers booked to come to Sidney will have their reservations honoured on the afternoon sailing at 2:40 p.m. from Anacortes. They are also able to redeem their reservations through the Vancouver to Sidney (Swartz Bay) or Nanaimo (Horseshoe Bay) terminals. Should customers choose these routes, Washington State Ferries will provide a refund, while customers are responsible for paying the full amount of their BC Ferries tickets. At this time, no new reservations are accepted.
Ian Sterling of Washington State Department of Transportation said that, while the international morning cancellation will result in an influx of passengers for the international afternoon ferry, the morning ferry was normally only half full on regular days. “Most people, if not all people, will be able to move their reservation,” he said.
Reminder! We're down 1 boat on the ANA/SJI route. Show up 90-120 mins early, and consider walking on if you can. No waits for walk-ons! pic.twitter.com/DwfmG8fRr5
— WA State Ferries (@wsferries) July 20, 2017
The Yakima has been transported to Washington State Ferries’ Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility on Bainbridge Island where maintenance crews are currently fixing the generator along with other issues that may require repairs. Washington State Ferries has a relief vessel which would normally be used as a replacement in situations like this; however, the replacement vessel’s engine is also in need of repair. This could take one week or more to fix.
The Yakima’s temporary malfunction does not come as much of a surprise. The boat was built in 1967 and has ran over 20 hours each day nearly every day since it was first put on the water. “Our ferries are machines that work really hard decade after decade,” Sterling said. Regardless of the ferry’s age, he added, “It’s frustrating to us and frustrating to our customers.”
Those wishing to travel the route between Sidney and Anacortes are advised to prepare for longer wait times and arrive 90 minutes to two hours early, with or without a reservation. Sterling suggests that, if possible, passengers walk on rather than drive, as room is almost always available for walk-on passengers.