WSF Weekly Report: Worker shortages, FH fire assistance, reopening of catering service on some crossings


||| FROM WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES |||


Our Seattle/Bainbridge service is just over three weeks into its trial service (Stage 3) of our Service Restoration Plan (Plan), which outlines the steps to restore service to pre-pandemic levels, route by route. This week’s plan progress report shows that during this period, execution did not reach 95% reliability, a criterion that must be met over a three-week period for a route to be considered fully restored (stage 4). As I mentioned last week, we have unfortunately recently had an unusually high number of relief requests among our employees.

Seventeen new deckhands began working in the fleet this month after two weeks of mandatory training, including a personal survival day at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center.

As a reminder, our service restoration efforts will be a slow dial change as this process depends on unpredictable factors like relief requests and the number of new employees we are able to recruit, who must then complete the training required to equip our ships. Most of our other routes remain in alternate service (stage 2), with alternate service times. When crew permits, we put a second boat into service on our Edmonds/Kingston and Mukilteo/Clinton routes for as long as possible each day. I encourage passengers to sign up for our Passenger Alerts to receive updates on the schedules we operate on each route.


Partnering with Seattle Maritime Academy to address labor shortages

Recruiting engine room staff is particularly difficult at this time and that is why we are looking to increase interest and enrollment in the Seattle Maritime Academy. About one in four of our current engine room employees are academy graduates, and we want to make sure that labor pipeline keeps flowing! We have partnered with the school on Mondays to promote its public tours and information sessions held on the second Tuesday of each month. If you’re interested in a fast track to family employment with us, this is the place to go!

Photo of people working on a diesel engine in a classroom

Seattle Maritime Academy students disassemble a diesel engine during a class as news crews observed as part of a press conference promoting the school.


WSF employees help fight the Friday Harbor fires

Our ferry crews undergo extensive training for all kinds of emergencies. These skills came in handy last Thursday when a major fire broke out near our Friday Harbor terminal. Kudos to our Suquamish and tillikum crews for assisting San Juan Island Fire & Rescue with firefighting, as well as the shuttle of additional firefighting support from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue. Our Friday Harbor and Orcas Island terminal staff also played an important role in coordinating this effort, along with our Marine Operations Supervisor. Thank you to everyone involved in public safety!

Photo of people in firefighting gear outside the Friday Harbor Terminal

Our ships’ crews donned firefighting gear to prepare for border support at our Friday Harbor terminal, one block from the fire.


CDC extends mask order for public transportation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday extended its nationwide mask requirement for public transportation by 15 days, until May 3, as it monitors an increase in COVID-19 cases. Because our system is federally regulated, such as airlines and rail services, face coverings are still required for all of our passengers and employees in the indoor public areas of our ships and terminals as long as this transportation order public remains in effect.


The publication of vehicle reservations for the summer navigation schedule postponed

We are postponing the two-month advance release of vehicle reservations for our summer season next week for at least a week, as we finalize IT upgrades to our online reservation system and discuss with members of the Advisory Board from the San Juan Islands Ferry for any minor schedule adjustments on this route. . Sign up for our passenger alerts to stay informed when travel reservations go live from June 19 to September 24 on our Anacortes/San Juan Islands and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes.


Limited onboard catering service reopens

Yesterday, our food vendor resumed kitchen service on board select ships on the following routes in its first stage of a phased reopening:

  • Anacortes/San Juan Islands (two vessels)
  • Edmonds/Kingston (one ship)
  • Seattle/Bainbridge (one ship)
  • Seattle/Bremerton (one ship)

Additional openings are dependent on our food supplier’s ability to hire more staff and sales allowing for expansion.


National Work Zone Awareness Week

It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, which draws attention to safety and mobility issues for motorists and workers in work zones. Our ships and terminals are truly a work zone, as drivers maneuver around and through our employees. As part of a month-long focus on work area safety, Seattle Terminal Attendant Andrea Leon Mack was the first to feature in WSDOT’s “More Than a Hard Hat” video series . Remember to slow down, be nice, be careful, and stay calm near all work areas.


$1,000 found on board Issaquah returned to owner

Deckhand David Danilchik found a money clip while working on board Issaquah earlier this month and immediately informed the crew. Captain Jordan Nelson instructed Clinton Terminal Supervisor John Wong and staff to begin the lost and found process and secure the lost item, which included over $1,000 in cash. The owner of the money clip called and showed up the next morning to pick it up. Thank you all for ensuring a happy reunion!


Assistant Secretary Award

This week, we presented Workforce Development Manager Richard O’Connor with our 2022 Assistant Secretary Award for high achievement and displaying sustained dedication and strong character. as a civil servant. Rich spends countless hours improving all areas of our training programs – setting up courses, evaluating training materials and supporting instructors – so that we have competent personnel in our fleet. Congratulations Rich, and job well done!

A colleague of Workforce Development Manager Richard O’Connor says, “Richard is a good listener and spends more time getting to know everyone in all the courses he implements. .” Portrait of Richard O'Conner

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