WSDOT 'short stacking' some ferries to prevent storm damage to cars on board

MUKILTEO, Wash. -- Strong winds around the Puget Sound cancelled some WSDOT ferry and Kitsap Transit fast ferry services Wednesday.

WSDOT ferry service was canceled for nearly five hours along their Coupeville to Port Townsend routes beginning around 2p.m. Wednesday. On their twitter page, WSDOT said routes resumes at 6:45pm.

It was also visibly stormy along the Mukilteo to Clinton route--the water choppy, with white caps.

The Mukilteo to Clinton route—along with several other--alternated their course slightly due to weather conditions. That’s not unusual for them to do in stormy conditions.

WSDOT said passengers could expect some minor delays through late week and took proactive measures like "short stacking" cars as drivers drove aboard several ferries.

"We’ll hold them back maybe a car space or two, just to prevent water from coming over the bow and damaging the cars," said Curtis Larson, Staff Master and Captain of WSDOT's Tokitae Ferry.

Larson says when storms really gets rolling they can see swells six to eight feet high.

While routes to and from Port Townsend and Coupeville were canceled several times Wednesday--there is no set standard for when ferry routes are canceled.

WSDOT says closures come on a case by case basis and that it all depends on the individual route and the boat at the time.

"It depends on the captain at the time and how comfortable he feels with being out there," said Larson.  "It gets a little hairy and dark--when its dark, it gets a little worse--you cant see the swells."

Larson says it's not unusual for the ferries to turn into rescue boats as needed--and says his boat has rescued stranded wind surfers or kayakers on numerous occasions.

No rescues of that nature reported Wednesday.