Ferry Martha’s Vineyard down, then out

Passengers crowded the Steamship Authority's Woods Hole terminal on Tuesday morning. – George Brennan

Updated 7 pm

The troubled Martha’s Vineyard ferry sustained damage to one of its doors Tuesday when a truck hit it on its first run of the day from Vineyard Haven.

The ferry missed two crossings, then made a couple before the Steamship Authority sent it to Fairhaven to make repairs, according to a tweet by the SSA. The ferry was replaced by the MV Woods Hole.

“The Woods Hole was in Fairhaven in standby status and not running a line at the moment,” Sean Driscoll, the SSA spokesman, wrote in an email. “We’re expecting this will be short term as we expect the doors on the [Martha’s Vineyard] to be fixed today or tomorrow AM at the latest.”

In a tweet published Tuesday evening, the Steamship Authority reported that the Martha’s Vineyard repairs are complete, the vessel is returning to Woods Hole, and will make its 9:45 pm trip to Vineyard Haven.

The problem with the ferry comes as the Island prepares for a busy weekend with holiday activities all over the Vineyard capped off by Christmas in Edgartown.

It was a chaotic scene at the Woods Hole terminal Tuesday morning where early-morning commuters waited for a ferry that wasn’t coming. They mixed with customers waiting for the 8:15 am Island Home ferry to create a long line snaking through the parking lot.

As a result, passengers and cars getting off the Island Home after it arrived from Vineyard Haven had difficulty navigating the parking lot. At around the same time, the Martha’s Vineyard pulled in compounding the traffic issues.

General manager Robert Davis could be seen walking onto the freight deck of the Martha’s Vineyard to assess the damage.

The Martha’s Vineyard is less than a year removed from its more than $18 million midlife refurbishment and has had other problems with the doors since then. At several recent meetings, the Steamship Authority board has gone into executive session to talk about potential litigation with Senesco, the Rhode Island-based company that did that refurbishment.

Updated to include more information from the SSA. – Ed.


  1. When will the Steamship Authority stop making excuses and and re-introduce fast ferry service to the Vineyard for commuters? An absence of leadership and of innovation at the Steamship Authority once again inconvenienced hundreds of customers this morning. Increasingly large trucks and growing truck volume means hitting the doors on the Steamship Authority’s wedding cake boats has become the rule and not the exception for the Steamship Authority.

  2. The steamship’s answer for not bringing fast ferry service to the island is it will be too expensive.
    Let the passengers decide if it is too expensive. The commuting passengers that need to get to the island would gladly pay for a service that would get them to work no matter what. Even at a pricier ticket.
    Sometimes you don’t know unless you try……

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