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WSF hopes for smoother sailings for tonight's Seahawks game
Washington State Ferries officials are hoping for smoother sailings this afternoon and evening than what they had for last Friday's Seahawks game.
During last Friday's 4:20 p.m. sailing from Bremerton to Seattle, the Cathlamet, which has room for 1,200 riders departed from Bremerton only to turn back. The boat was overloaded by nearly 500 passengers who had to disembark.
Marta Coursey, a WSF spokeswoman, says there will be increased staffing, more communications to help riders plan ahead and increased security for tonight's sailings to and from Seattle. In addition, Coursey says supervisors will review loading procedures with all staff ahead of time and be in close communication with vessel captains.
Coursey said her understanding of the counting process is that one terminal staff member and one vessel crew member count passengers independently as they board (both walk ons and vehicle passengers). They are to cross reference the counts with each other and then before the vessel departs the dock the terminal supervisor is to communicate the passenger count to the vessel captain, Coursey added. She said that process is part of WSF's standing Safety Management System protocols.
"Interim Assistant Secretary George Capacci has not completed his investigation into the miscount incident of last weekend so I can’t verify what exactly went wrong just yet," Coursey said.
For sailings this afternoon and evening, Coursey laid out several measures being taken to ensure things go more smoothly than last Friday. Staffing has been increased at the Seattle, Bremerton, and Bainbridge terminals to help load and count passengers. An extra sailing of the Sealth has also been added this evening (it will leave out of Bremerton at 10:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. out of Seattle. Terminal supervisors will remain onsite until the event ends and terminal management will be present at all terminals.
Coursey said WSF is also working to increase communications to help customers plan ahead, expect delays, and stay informed during heavy traffic. She says to expect detailed travel alerts along with the use of visual paging systems and announcements.
When it comes to loading procedures, Coursey says supervisors will review procedures with all staff ahead of time and supervisors will be in close communication with vessel captains. Lastly, there will be an increased security presence, including the Washington State Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard.