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Crew shortages hit Washington ferries ahead of holiday

Washington state ferry
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press file
A passenger wears a mask while riding on a Washington state ferry from Bremerton to Seattle as another ferry passes near the Space Needle on May 25.

Canceled sailings at Washington State Ferries could worsen for Labor Day weekend as crew shortages and COVID-19 quarantines continue to impact the schedules.

The Seattle Times reports that travelers are advised to prepare for delays, choose an early or late sailing, or consider walking aboard to avoid car lineups.

The ferry system stopped accepting new weekend reservations for the San Juan Islands and Coupeville-Port Townsend routes, as it can’t guarantee a full schedule.

Six routes will run fewer trips than usual through Labor Day weekend and beyond, especially late nights. Next week the Seattle-Bremerton route will shrink to just one boat so the ferry Kaleetan can undergo dry-dock repairs.

At least 130 sailings have been missed since February, the worst in recent memory, spokesperson Ian Sterling said. Of these, rider alerts last weekend showed 31 cancellations because of crew shortages.

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