Plans for the summer resumption of the Sidney-Anacortes ferry service look to be sunk.
The Town of Sidney said it has learned, that due to a vessel shortage, Washington State Ferries does not expect to be able to resume ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes until 2030.
“This is difficult news to receive. There are certainly economic impacts for our local business community, which thankfully has shown remarkable resilience in adapting to the changing realities since 2020,” said Sidney mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith in a statement. “At this time, council and town staff are turning our attention to the existing ferry terminal lease and the implications associated with this recent announcement.”
Washington State Ferries provides the service through a lease and operating agreement that extends into 2031.
The route was paused in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was not reinstated due to a shortage of qualified crew and the retirement of several vessels. In an update last summer, Washington State Ferries had told Sidney it did not expect to resume service before summer 2023 at the earliest.
Ferries have operated between Sidney and Anacortes since 1922, first under private ownership, then by Washington State Ferries since 1951. Historically, Washington State Ferries offered one daily round-trip sailing during the second and fourth quarters, two daily round-trip sailings during the third (summer) quarter, and suspended service during the opening quarter.
The sailing between Sidney and Anacortes is part of a larger route connecting Anacortes with San Juan Island. While Sidney-Anacortes isn’t a major route in Washington’s ferry system – accounting for 0.5 per cent of the system’s total passengers in 2019 – it bears significant historical, cultural and economic significance for the region.
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