Boaters misbehave and boldly make ferry crews grumpy


MUKILTEO – Hey, guy in the speedboat.

Seriously, how can you not see a 362 foot ferry?

Happens all the time.

On a clear Thursday mid-afternoon, the ferry operator honked five times when a small pleasure craft approached its path as it navigated the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

The motorboat continued until it veered towards the side of the giant green and white workhorse at the last minute, narrowly avoiding a potential collision.

“It’s like riding a bike around a tractor-trailer,” Washington State Ferries spokesman Ian Sterling said. “There are no brakes on a state ferry. It’s frustrating for our people. »

Misbehaving and daring boaters are particularly problematic for ferries with the summer increase in recreational traffic.

“We have anglers and boaters who don’t have enough experience around ferries and like to cut in front or park in front and do all kinds of weird things,” Sterling said. “System-wide, we have about 500 crossings per day. There are many possibilities for people to do something that is not smart.

The ferries assist in the rescue of boaters and swimmers in distress. These cause delays in departures and increase waiting times, making passengers grumpy.

Speaking of crabs… ferries also have to deal with crab pots.

“We have crab season in full swing,” Sterling said.

A big honking ferry is no match for a small crab trap if the line gets tangled in the propeller shaft.

“Crush crab pots and it can put a boat out of service and cost a few hundred thousand dollars,” Sterling said. “We now have one that has just been taken out of service and is more than likely related to a crab trap.”

Usually it’s crab pot owners who lose their gear.

“Nine times out of 10 they get run over and that’s the end of it,” he said.

Crab is allowed from Thursday to Monday the waters around here until September 5.

According to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife rules, crabbing gear must be removed from the water one hour after sunset on the last day of any fishing period.

Crabbers, watch where you put your pot.

“Anyone who knows what they’re doing doesn’t put their crab pot in front of the ferry terminal,” Sterling said.

Yet it happens all the time.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; [email protected]; Twitter: @reporterbrown.


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