Let’s talk ferries

The Beachcomber wants to hear your experiences with the state ferry system.

Ferries are the blood vessels of Vashon Island; the path by which nearly all of its people and things come and go.

With no bridges or fancy underwater tunnels, residents rely on the thrum of the ferries at the southern and northern tips of the island to access life, services and goods they can’t get here.

So when something goes wrong with those ferries, we all care — a lot. At best, it’s a minor annoyance. At worst, it’s a geographic heart attack.

If you’ve read The Beachcomber lately, you’ve probably seen an increase in news about ferry service to the island. We believe it’s a critical issue for islanders, the vast majority of whom have no other way of getting on or off the island.

We want to cover the issue in more depth, addressing the scale of the issues and the possible solutions. That means documenting service levels, asking tough questions of state leaders and sharing the experiences of those who rely most on the ferries.

To do that, we need to hear from you.

How have ferry service issues affected you and your family?

We know that there are real stories of hardship out there, and also accounts of how the operation of island businesses has become more precarious because of the degradation of our ferry service.

We want to document those kinds of stories to illustrate how our ferry woes have passed far beyond mere inconvenience and have truly harmed islanders.

What do you want to hear from those in charge? You can help us shape our coverage.

Reach out to us at editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

We’re not the only ones who need to hear your voice. If you feel strongly about the ferries, you can contact the following local elected officials and involved state agencies:

State Legislature

34th District (Vashon Island)

  • Sen. Joe Nguyen: 360-786-7667
  • Rep. Emily Alvarado: 360-786-7978
  • Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon: 360-786-7952

Other relevant legislators

  • 21st District Rep. Marko Liias: (Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee): 360-786-7640
  • 27th District Jake Fey: (Chair of the House Transportation Committee): 360-786-7974

State Executive

Gov. Jay Inslee: 360-902-4111 or online here.

Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries division.


Washington State Transportation Commission (tasked with assessing the entire state transportation system): 360-705-7070 or transc@wstc.wa.gov

Vashon Ferry Advisory Committee Chair Justin Hirsch: vashonfac@gmail.com

We also urge islanders to get involved, learn more and make their voices heard at an upcoming community meeting, organized by the Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce, to further discuss our community’s collective response to the island’s ferry woes.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at the Vashon High School’s theater.

We’ll be there, and hope to see you there, too.