Cars ride the Walla Walla ferry from Seattle to Bremerton on Aug. 4, 2019. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Cars ride the Walla Walla ferry from Seattle to Bremerton on Aug. 4, 2019. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Longer waits and crowded rides expected for Bremerton ferry

The Seattle-Bremerton route will have one boat out of service through at least mid-October.

By Christine Clarridge / The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — With one boat out of service through at least mid-October, riders of the Seattle-Bremerton route should expect longer waits and crowded rides.

The route is down to one boat, the Chimacum, until further notice due to maintenance, crewing challenges and a shortage of available vessels, the Washington State Ferries said Tuesday in a bulletin.

The Chimacum will operate only the #2 sailings on the route’s schedule while the other boat normally assigned the route, the Kaleetan, undergoes necessary dry-dock work, the ferry service said.

Customers are encouraged to plan ahead and check terminal conditions or view the real-time travel map before arriving at the terminal, as there may be extended waits during peak travel times.

The temporary loss of the Kaleetan followed a Labor Day weekend rumor that there would be a ferry worker “sickout” in protest of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for most state employees, including WSF crew members.

The rumor was so widespread that WSF warned of delays and stopped taking vehicle reservations on some of its routes “due to the possibility of disrupted sailings from a lack of crew.”

The Washington Federation of State Employees reached a tentative agreement with the state regarding the vaccine mandate over the weekend.

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