Opinion

Tides could affect your traveling plans

Those who often travel on the ferries in our state are probably used to delays and restrictions here and there.

It seems as though if it’s not one thing it’s another when it comes to delays with the ferries. Many, however, are out of anyone’s control. This time it’s the tide. For ferry riders, it could mean not getting a ride across the water if you drive a certain type of vehicle.

An extremely low tide now, and in the coming weeks, means load restrictions for low clearance vehicles. So if you’re driving a sporty Miata, RV or pulling an extended trailer during certain hours in the next couple of weeks, you should be prepared to possibly have to drive around.

The Washington State Ferries’ (WSF) load restrictions started last Wednesday and will continue until Tuesday, July 3. These restrictions apply to certain times before, during and after low tides of 1.5 or below, according to WSF.

Because of the low tide, WSF is unable to load low clearance or extended vehicles at many of its terminals because the loading ramp becomes too steep and these vehicles have difficulty clearing the hinge point as they cross from the dock to the ferry, according to the department.

Travelers or commuters who plan on taking the ferry during the morning or midday hours, when the tides are expected to be at their lowest, should plan ahead if they are driving a low clearance vehicle. Especially with the Fourth of the July just around the corner, there will undoubtedly be an increase in people taking their RVs and trailers across the Sound.

“Every year we have this period in early summer where the low tides are such that we need to limit low clearance vehicles,” said Steve Rodgers, WSF director of operations. “We will do everything we can to accommodate all travelers with a minimum of inconvenience, especially as we approach the busy Fourth of July holiday.”

It’s important for ferry travelers to practice patience during these low-tide periods and, more importantly, to check the latest information before leaving the house. Too often people don’t plan ahead and they are blind-sided when they are told ‘No.’ It’s always best to double-check your travel plans especially if you’re traveling during the holidays.

Ferry riders can check specific restrictions and low tide information for all ferry terminals on WSF’s Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ or call (888) 808-7977.

Don’t be the one sitting at the ferry terminal having a breakdown because you can’t get on the ferry and your trip is extremely delayed. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.

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