SSA Woods Hole is down, Sankaty filling in

Passengers walk off the M/V Sankaty Thursday morning in Vineyard Haven. - George Brennan

For the second day in a row Thursday, commuters who typically travel aboard the M/V Woods Hole are crammed into the freight ferry M/V Sankaty for their daily trips to and from Martha’s Vineyard.

On Wednesday evening, commuters arrived at the Vineyard Haven terminal to find the Woods Hole out of commission. About 15 minutes after the 5 o’clock boat was due to depart, the Sankaty pulled into the slip and unloaded passengers from Woods Hole.

Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers waited in a line that snaked throughout the parking lot. Passengers filled the interior cabin to standing room only. About three dozen hardy passengers huddled on the benches outside, hoods pulled up. Some passengers were not allowed to board because the ferry had reached its capacity.

At the docks, Steamship Authority employees told passengers the Woods Hole suffered an engine issue.

Nothing on the SSA website alerts passengers to the change in vessels or how long the Woods Hole will be out of service. The same ferry was out of service last weekend after the vessel developed a crack in its keel cooler.

Robert Davis, general manager for the SSA, did not return a phone call or email seeking comment.

The Woods Hole was back in service as of Friday morning.

The Woods Hole is already filling in for the Island Home, which is out of service for repairs through the middle of March.



  1. It is refreshing to know that they are keeping the island travelers up to speed on the status of the boats running or not. (sarcasm) In this day and age with just about everyone accessing some type of social media, they would have constant real time updates to problems or changes. They don’t seem to care that there are still tons of regular commuters every day that rely on these boats, even in the winter. But alas… this is still the steamship authority. These problems with the Woods Hole must be due to the fact that the warrantee is over from the manufacturer. Yea, we need another new boat just like this one….

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