June 15, 2006 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Ferry incident exposes security weaknesses

“This week’s incident in which an angry 51-year-old man prompted a two-hour shutdown of the Seattle ferry dock exposed security weaknesses in the state ferry system, identified earlier by federal officials as the country’s No. 1 target for marine terrorism.”

“We’d like the patrol to be everywhere, all the time, but they don’t have the staff or the money,” said ferry spokeswoman Susan Harris-Huether. “If they’d have been (at Bainbridge), none of this would have happened.”

sometimes we have troopers and sometimes we don’t. It’s a random kind of thing.”

I was researching old news links after I posted a blog on WSF security. I found the above example of excellent news reporting. There have been several incidents at ferry terminals over the years. Instead of asking any questions, newspeople will often post a press release from agencies handling the situation.


Homeland Security is a scam

I remember when this story came out:

September 1, 2007 Peninsula Daily News

Harpist on Port Townsend-Keystone ferry silenced after 17 years

“Washington State Ferries officials had received two complaints from passengers, saying that they had to abide by security measures while Michael did not.”

“State ferries officials say they had no choice but to fairly enforce security policies that were stepped up in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on the East Coast on Sept. 11, 2001.”

My reaction at the time: What security?

The Washington State Patrol uses dogs to check vehicles at some ferry terminals on some days. Walk-on passengers are not checked at any terminal- at any time.


My interest in WSF security comes up now because it looks like there was no security staff present at:

Mukilteo or Clinton for an inbound/outbound DUI driver. Two fatalities.


If You See Something, Say Something

November 18, 2022 Everett Herald

Lawsuit: Ferry staff could have prevented crash that killed 2 from Everett


“On Dec. 18, 2021, Cruz was driving her Ford Explorer toward the Mukilteo ferry terminal, according to court papers. Witnesses reported she drove erratically, as she stopped at a green light, swerved across lanes and drove over a curb. Once she got a ferry ticket to Clinton, she rear-ended another car in her ferry lane, police reported.”

State ferries employees saw the crash, but still ordered Cruz to get on the ferry to Whidbey Island despite her appearing “obviously impaired,” the lawsuit states.”


“When the ferry arrived in Clinton, everyone got off the ship, except Cruz. She had reportedly fallen asleep over her steering wheel.”

Ferry staff tried to rouse her, but were unsuccessful. Finally, with the help of more employees, they were able to wake Cruz up. The lawsuit alleges the state Department of Transportation destroyed surveillance video showing this.”

“At this point, WSF staff had already observed Cruz strike another vehicle in the ferry lineup, they had received passenger reports of Cruz’s intoxication, they called to request assistance from Washington State Patrol, they required the assistance of multiple crewmembers to wake her up from her unconscious state,” the lawsuit reads. “Despite being informed that Cruz was impaired, the Vessel’s crew directed Cruz to drive her vehicle off the ferry.”



Be honest. Report the facts. Eliminate ongoing war on terror/security theater mixed messages. Insist on more in the way of newspeople asking questions.

If the GWOT is bogus, just say so.

Forget about the War on Terror and The US Dept. of Homeland Security and ask yourself:

When motorists at a local ferry terminal witness erratic driving/driving over a curb and the rear-ending of another car in the ferry lane, should they be ignored when they report it? Should WSF terminal staff & boat crews be placed in a situation where they make it up as they go along because no impaired driving response protocols are in place on the job?



Looks like no security staff present at several incidents:

Mukilteo or Clinton for inbound/outbound DUI driver. Two fatalities.

Gunfire on Bremerton ferry during Puget Sound crossing.

Security breach on the Bremerton ferry

FatalityGuemes ferry dock

Winslow ferry dock – Belligerent motorist blows past toll booth and onto ferry.

Credit to the press for asking questions on the Winslow incident. Excellent reporting here.

FatalitySouthworth ferry dock

FatalityAnacortes ferry dock


Washington State ferry passengers are advised via PA system not to leave backpacks or packages unattended during ferry crossings.

Meanwhile-on the car deck-cars, trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, etc. are left unattended during ferry crossings.

I have made dozens of round trip ferry crossings over the past 20 years. In many cases, there has been no security screening at either terminal.

On occasion, the press will do a story about a ferry security drill.

If the Oklahoma City bomber rolls onto the ferry-how does the SWAT team help out an hour later?


This state-run media video shows US Coast Guard gun boats escorting the ferries. K-9 teams are on site to detect explosives:

A state-run media report from June, 2012-

This video tells us that security personal are on site every day-at 2:56

Maybe security personnel are present at some specific terminal each day. Dozens of round trip crossings from various terminals indicate that in many cases-no security screening takes place prior to boarding ferries.


Newspeople play along by not asking questions:

May 23, 2017 KIRO 7 News

Ferry drill: Police train how to respond to security threats aboard a ferry in Puget Sound


Puget Sound Ferry Ride

GWOT/security theater mixed messages:

Does a routine ferry ride require a gunboat escort?

Dec 22, 2014 Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Coast Guard Station Seattle conducts ferry escort

What is the point in having gunboats escorting ferries if terrorists are free to put their boat on a trailer and drive it onto the ferry?


More here:

Any Security at Washington State Ferry Terminals?

Washington State Ferries Security – Looking for Clarification

Mixed Messages On Transportation Security/Firing Gun From the Ferry Update

Was It A Fake War On Terror?

Washington State Ferry Ride

Washington State Ferries Security







Extinct ferry at Kingston