February 28, 2023

Sidney-Anacortes ferry service not expected to resume in near future due to vessel shortage

Sidney, BC.;

The Town of Sidney has just recently 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.

The ferry service ceased operating in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has not yet resumed due to a shortage of qualified crew and the retirement of several vessels.

The ferry route between Sidney and Anacortes has historic significance; it began on a converted kelp carrier at the foot of Beacon Avenue in 1922. The ferry service grew into a source of tourism for Sidney and the South Island region, and also an important connection between friends and families across the Canada-US border.

“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 Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith. “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, a component of the Washington State Department of Transportation, provides the ferry service through a lease and operating agreement that extends through 2031.

Media Contact:

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith
Town of Sidney