Yakima Ferry's "Wind Damage" to Set WSF Back $400k


Bremerton's breakwater after the incident.

The Yakima Ferry's hard landing at the Bremeton terminal in February, initially reported as “wind damage” by WSF, will cost the system approximately $460,000 and means a demotion for the master on duty, according to an email from WSF spokesperson Hadley Greene.

The vessel began taking on water around 1:50 a.m. on Feb. 8 after hitting the Bremerton marina's new breakwater as the master (person behind the wheel) attempted to land the boat. Greene said WSF's investigation, completed earlier this month, determined the incident to be due to “a lack of situational awareness on the part of the master, which led to the vessel missing its landing at the Bremerton terminal. The employee will return to work as a 2nd mate after completing training.” The master has been on paid administrative leave since the incident and receive a pay cut to the 2nd mate rate ($63,000 annually on average) compared to the $86,000 average annual salary paid to a master. In contrast, a master was terminated last year after a hard landing in Mukilteo.

Greene says the Yakima is scheduled to be put back in service on the San Juan/Anacortes route at the end of July. It is currently dry docked at Todd Shipyard where the total bill, including scheduled maintenance and steel repairs, is estimated to be $1,454,000.

The incident came as WSF continued to juggle boats around the system in the wake of the decision to pull all four Steel Electric ferries from service in November, and were without a backup vehicle ferry to replace the Yakima. The route operated on a one-boat schedule for most of the day before the passenger-only ferry Snohomish was brought it. Two additional passenger-only ferries were leased from outside the system to support the route, which has since returned to normal operations.

The Yakima's brush with the breakwater was the second time in as many weeks the boat made headlines. Just two weeks prior a staff engineer discovered a “weeping” deep pit in the hull's plating, and was moved to the “calmer” waters on the Bremerton route where it was inspected every four hours by crew members.

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