Steamship website crashed on first day of reservations

An aerial view of the M/V Woods Hole. The vessel suffered mechanical issues on and off throughout the month of March. — Bill Brine

Technical issues that have hampered ferry customers all day are over, according to Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis.

In an email received just before 5:30 pm last Thursday, Mr. Davis wrote: “The technical problem that limited access to General Public 2018 Summer Reservation openings has been resolved. Customers can now access our website without a problem. We encourage our customers who were unable to make their summer reservations earlier today to retry the booking process for their 2018 summer reservations. We wish to thank our customers for their patience while we resolved our issues. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”

Customers looking to make those reservations earlier in the day Thursday got a rude awakening Thursday morning as the Steamship Authority website crashed.

Ross Macpherson, a home energy rater from Plympton who grew up in Tisbury, attempted to make his annual summer reservations early Thursday morning, but was left with an error message when he tried to book his trip. He decided to wait a few hours, but then couldn’t even get the website to load.

Mr. Macpherson was one of many trying to book summer boat reservations. Online reservations opened Thursday to Island residents who are part of the Steamship’s Headstart Reservation program. The program gives participants in the Islander preferred and Islander preferred-excursion programs priority when making reservations for the upcoming summer season, but with the website crash, people had to wait.

Steamship personnel worked throughout the day Thursday to fix the problem.

Just before 1:30 pm, while the site was still down, Mr. Davis issued the following statement through a spokesman: “Our website has experienced an unexpected problem that has limited access for the booking of the general public 2018 summer reservation openings. Our IT department is working on a fix at this very moment. However, in order to fix the problem we will have to take the system offline for a short period of time. We will issue another statement when it is fully operational, and apologize for the temporary inconvenience.”