Re: “Collapse of WA ferry system hits hardest in San Juan Islands” [Sept. 22, Opinion]:

I live in a community that depends on reliable service from Washington State Ferries. The recent Op-Ed by Alex MacLeod perfectly encapsulates the ferry system’s self-inflicted wound.

WSF requires credentialed mariners in the deck department (deckies) to do two years of part-time, “on-call” service to be eligible for a full-time job.

When I moved to Kitsap County, I obtained my federal Mariner Credential with an eye toward working for WSF. I quickly discovered how in-demand credentialed mariners are, nationwide and worldwide.

I was immediately hired to work on a ship in Texas with better pay, weekends off and holidays. I am preparing to start my second yearlong contract in Texas.

I fly home from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on weekends and holidays to spend time with my family in Kitsap County.


The ships in Texas give me a more compelling contract than the garbage “part time, on-call” nonsense WSF offers.

This remains a crisis of WSF’s own making. All they have to do is offer credentialed mariners full-time work, and we will come aboard and staff their vessels.

Until they do that, I’ll keep commuting down to Texas.

Elliott Smith, Suquamish