Coupeville ferry riders should expect delays

Anyone planning to drive onto the Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry in May should make reservations as soon as possible, a Washington State Ferries spokesman warns.

Brian Mannion said the run was supposed to go to a two-boat service on May 6 to handle the increased traffic in the busy season, but the ferry that was supposed to be added, the Salish, now needs repairs.

A recent inspection by divers revealed that parts of the rudder are showing significant signs of wear.

Mannion said it’s not unexpected that the parts would be worn and have to be replaced; he likened them to brake pads on a car.

The work will take about one week.

“The catch is there’s no dry dock available until May 16 in Puget Sound,” Mannion said.

The ferries were made especially for the difficult conditions.

State Ferries is adding an additional nighttime run on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Still, Mannion concedes it likely won’t be able to handle all the traffic.

“The good news is that there are still plenty of reservations,” he said. “The bad news is we definitely expect it to be at full capacity.”

Mannion said the goal is to have the Salish in service by May 26, just in time for Memorial Day.