(Andy Bronson / Herald file)                                (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

(Andy Bronson / Herald file) (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Expect long ferry lines due to crew shortage from COVID-19

Mukilteo and Edmonds routes will have reduced boat service. Saturday’s wait was 3 hours from Clinton.

MUKILTEO — A ferry trip on Father’s Day weekend means spending more quality time in the car with dad.

Ferry service on two popular routes was reduced due to COVID-19 factors.

Ian Sterling, Washington State Ferries spokesman, said a combination of aging workers, vessel maintenance and funding led to the need to limit service.

“We are down 100 to 150 workers just because they are in the high-risk category,” Sterling said. “Previous cuts over the years have us down to where we are a skeleton crew. We are really challenged right now.”

The Mukilteo-Clinton route was reduced to one boat on Saturday and Sunday. Normally two ferries cross the water with service every half hour from each dock for the 20-minute voyage.

Ferries will depart every hour this weekend. Saturday there was a three-hour wait leaving Clinton.

The service reduction starts on Sunday on the Edmonds-Kingston route that typically departs every 45 to 55 minutes for the 30-minute crossing. There was a two-hour wait Saturday from Edmonds, when two boats were running. One boat Sunday will cut service in half and double the time between sailings from each dock.

Sterling said he hoped service will be restored Monday, but he cautioned there could be reductions again.

Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Port Townsend routes already have been operating on reduced service.

Riders can check a real-time schedule online or on the WSDOT app.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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