Late ferry sailings are on the rise this summer

Think this summer has been seen more late ferry sailings than usual?

You’re not imaging things.

According to statistics provided by Washington State Ferries, the past three months have seen the highest number of late boats on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle route in the past five years.

In June, the Bainbridge route had its worst record of late departures in the past five years.

The on-time performance level (percent of trips departing within 10 minutes of scheduled time) fell to 77.8 percent in June; down from 78.5 percent in 2018 and 93.2 percent in 2017.

The previous month, May, also saw more delays on the Bainbridge route. The on-time performance level of island sailings was 81.4 percent, a 5 percent drop from 2018 (86.1 percent).

There were more late sailings in July than the previous two months. The on-time performance level was 72 percent — a mark slightly better than last July, where on-time performance level was pegged at 70.2 percent.

WSF officials note that many factors can cause ferry sailings to run late.

Heavy traffic boarding the ferries is typically the biggest problem for on-time sailings.

The Bainbridge-Seattle route has also been impacted this year by construction at Colman Dock in Seattle.

Other factors causing delays include stalled vehicles, lost car keys, visibility (fog), mechanical issues, medical emergencies and accumulated delays (which are delays later in the day that are caused by an earlier incident, such as medical problems, weather, mechanical, or traffic issues that prevent the vessel from catching up to the printed schedule).

Other departure delays include vessel congestion at dock, drills aboard the boat, terminal dock closures, and rescue incidents.

Police activity at the dock or on the vessels can also delay sailings.

That was the case for late sailings on the Bainbridge route Wednesday, after a woman was seen in the water off Colman Dock.

Ferry spokesman Ian Sterling said the woman did not jump from a ferry, but apparently went into the water from the shore.

Though she initially refused help, a rescue boat crew from the M/V Walla Walla eventually got her to shore and waiting EMTs.

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