Washington State Ferries adding required staff

SEATTLE – Four classes of state ferries are adding staff because of new requirements from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Washington State Ferries has already added two crewmembers to the Issaquah ferry -- staff will also be added to the Jumbo, Super and Evergreen ferries once the USCG issues the revised certificate of inspection for each vessel.

The USCG is adjusting its requirements for staffing levels based on the number of passengers carried on the Super, Issaquah and Evergreen State class vessels. Those ferries carry many of the system’s 22 million annual riders.

WSF is analyzing the costs associated with the revisions. The nation’s largest ferry system has been squeezed financially since the loss of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax in 1999, but has managed with moderate fare increases and some service reductions, in addition to nearly $1 billion in transfers from other transportation accounts since 2000.