Recent comments from officials representing Washington State Ferries (WSF) offer a case of bad-news, good-news for the future of the ferry connecting Sidney with the United States. (Black Press Media File)

Recent comments from officials representing Washington State Ferries (WSF) offer a case of bad-news, good-news for the future of the ferry connecting Sidney with the United States. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney-to-Anacortes ferry suspended until fall 2021

WSF has no plans to cut service in long-run

Recent comments from officials representing Washington State Ferries (WSF) offer a case of bad-news, good-news for the future of the ferry connecting Sidney with the United States.

Ian Sterling, spokesperson for Washington State Ferries, has confirmed the Sidney-to-Anacortes route remains suspended until further notice, with no reason to expect a change before the end of peak season – at the end of September. Service between the sister communities of Sidney and Anacortes ceased in March 2020 because of international restrictions spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Historically, WSF offers one daily round-trip sailing during the second quarter and fourth quarter of any calendar year, two daily round-trip sailings during the third (summer) quarter, while suspending service during the opening quarter.

RELATED: Private ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes feasible, according to new report

Sterling also confirmed WSF has no plans to discontinue service to Sidney in the long term, adding that the governor’s budget includes funds to keep that route going.

While the route arguably appears as the least important route in Washington State’s ferry system in accounting for 0.5 per cent of the system’s total passengers in 2019, it bears significant historical, cultural and economic significance for the region.

Ferries have operated between Sidney and Anacortes for nearly a century, first under private ownership, then by WSF since 1951. This said, the WSF has faced a number of technical issues and political pressures around the route.

The April 2020 retirement of the MV Elwha left Washington State Ferries with one vessel — the MV Chelan, itself more than 50 years old — capable of servicing the route under the Safety of Life at Sea certification standards for vessels operating in international waters.

“We’re down to a 21 vessel fleet as boats age out and are retired from duty,” said Sterling. “Not long ago there were 24.”

RELATED: Sidney concerned proposed funding cuts to Sidney-Anacortes Ferry could hit tourism

Sterling said a new build program is just getting rolling. “We’re currently funded to start on one new boat with unfunded (as of now) plans for a total of five new boats (for the entire fleet),” he said. “They will all be capable of running on 100 per cent battery power which is pretty cool.”

Washington State politicians have also explored ways to trim costs.

Supporters of the status quo though recently received some good news when a state-commissioned study a found privately-run auto ferry between Sidney and Anacortes, WA., feasible, only to raise a number of legal, logistical and local political issues that will complicate any major changes.

RELATED: Funding for Sidney-Washington ferry repairs still a question mark


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

FerryWashington State Ferries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A 5-2 majority of Sidney councillors voted against trimming the 2021 draft budget off $30,000 earmarked in part for the search of pickleball specific courts in Sidney. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney serves up $30,000 toward search for, design of pickleball courts

Coun. Scott Garnett urges action as majority defeats motion to strike funding from budget

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read