Ferry Frustration


Recently a Washington State Ferry ran aground while traveling through Rich Passage. The Walla Walla was running its normal route from Seattle to Bremerton. The ferry departed from downtown Seattle Saturday afternoon but never reached its final destination. The Walla Walla ran aground at approximately 4:30 P.M. The ship was passing between Bainbridge Island and Point Glover when it ran aground in Rich Passage.  

Washington State Ferries released an official statement pinning the cause of the crash to a failure of the ship’s power generators. The failure made it difficult to steer the ship through the narrow passage. The generator was a key part of the ship’s mechanics.  

After the ship was grounded it took authorities hours to evacuate all passengers and crew safely. In total there were over 600 people aboard the ship. Some passengers with vehicles had it even worse. It took almost eighteen hours for all vehicles to be offloaded. The long waits and many delays frustrated the passengers who were waiting for their vehicles. 

The grounding (specifically the generator failure) has resulted in calls for new ferries. Over half of the ferries in operation were manufactured before 1985, and most of those have not been upgraded with modern technology. Some people think that it is a miracle that there are not more accidents. 

Mr. Grey said, “The fact that there aren’t more accidents is really impressive.” 

The failure and crash of the Walla Walla is especially concerning for commuters who rely on ferries for their everyday life. If ferry crashes become a regular occurrence, there will be massive effects on people’s lives and Seattle’s economy. Vashon Island is completely cut off from the mainland by road. The entire population relies on the ferry system for basic needs.  

The Washington state ferry system has some serious issues to address after the Walla Walla ran aground.