Washington State Ferries has confirmed the Sidney to Anacortes ferry route will not return to service until the summer of 2023 at the earliest.

The transportation company announced in March that it did not anticipate that service would be restored this summer season due to a shortage of crew.

“It is disappointing that this important connection between the Peninsula and the United States will continue to be suspended, however we recognize that Washington State Ferries is making every effort to restore its former routes,” said Mayor Cliff McNeil Smith.

The Town was looking forward to celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the ferry service this year with the community of Anacortes, which has been a Sister City to Sidney since 1996.

“We recognize that labour shortages are impacting many services and organizations. We remain committed to this ferry route and have heard the same commitment echoed by Washington State Ferries,” added Smith.

“We remain committed to this ferry route and look forward to its return.”

The Sidney to Anacortes ferry began on a converted kelp carrier at the foot of Beacon Avenue in 1922.

Since then, the ferry service has supported local tourism, benefited local and regional economies and connected friends and families across the border.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada, putting a halt to the Sidney-Anacortes ferry route.

According to a media release from the Town of Sidney Thursday, the Washington State Ferries shared an update with the Sidney on its future plans.

The ongoing closure of the ferry service, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, is the result of a shortage of qualified crew members, which Washington State Ferries said it is working to address through “a robust, ongoing recruitment effort.”

Washington State Ferries provides the ferry service through an international ferry terminal at Tulista Park.

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