Seeking answers to early morning ferry schedule


To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to Robert Davis, general manager of the Steamship Authority:

Steamship Authority senior staff and board members will remember the public hearing on August 28, 2017, at which Falmouth residents objected to the continued scheduling of the 5:30 am daily freight ferry from Woods Hole during late spring, summer, and early fall.

Our objection was to the noise of SSA-related trucks traveling to the 5:30 am ferry and waking up residents on Palmer Avenue, North Main Street, Locust Street, Woods Hole Road, Crane Street, and Cowdry Street, and to the early morning truck staging noise in Woods Hole village. 

In response to residents’ concerns, the Steamship Authority took the following steps for late spring, summer, and early fall schedules for 2018 and going forward:

1) maintained its originally proposed schedule of the 5:30 am daily freight ferry from Woods Hole;

2) eliminated trucks beyond a maximum of 40 feet in length on the 5:30 am freight ferry;

3) added up to eight additional freight trips per day, five days a week, on the Woods Hole–Vineyard route.

Regarding point 3) above, the Steamship Authority’s Oct. 17, 2017, “Report” document, in the section “During the height of the summer, the SSA needs to add a fifth boat to the Martha’s Vineyard route in order to carry smaller trucks on the 5:30 am freight trip,” specified this new condition: “The SSA can assign the Sankaty to provide additional service for the Martha’s Vineyard route from June 19 through Sept. 7, 2018, to provide up to four additional round-trips per day five days a week, and it can designate the Sankaty’s first daily trip as a hazardous cargo trip.” (See page 37,

Could you respond to the following questions please? 

  1. Could you explain how the SSA believes removing trucks exceeding 40 feet in length on the 5:30 am daily freight ferry from Woods Hole, while still maintaining that 5:30 am daily freight ferry for trucks up to 40 feet in length, is commensurate with adding up to eight new freight trips per day (five days a week) that were not previously on the Woods Hole–Martha’s Vineyard schedule? 
  2. How many new Sankaty trips did the Steamship Authority end up adding per day (five days a week) in 2018, and in 2019, in the late spring, summer, and early fall, in response to the August 2017 public hearing?
  3. Was the addition of up to eight new freight trips per day (five days a week) between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard discussed with Cape and Vineyard residents at any time after the August 27, 2017, public hearing, or was that addition simply mandated by the Oct. 17, 2017, “Report” document of SSA staff following the August 2017 public hearing?

We would like to share your responses to the three questions above with those residents who requested the public hearing in 2017, our town and state leaders, and other concerned Cape and Vineyard residents. 

Nat Trumbull
Woods Hole


  1. You own a home on what is essentially a one lane expressway to a tourist mecca, vacation playground, and by the way, a neighboring town. The ssa meets market demand.
    What do you expect? I would never buy a home roadside to 24- that would be a foolish investment.
    I highly doubt the residents of the aforementioned towns would be satisfied even if your re arranged your truck schedule- next attack would be the 6am boat.

  2. Its a state highway. Its traffic. As the ‘whaleoildriller’ noted, its a one way expressway and the SSA meets market demand. There is a reason that a home is cheaper next to a busy state highway than at the end of a cul-de-sac. Its comical to listen to complaints from people who move next to a PRE-EXISTING school, airport, or commercial business and then complain. A real estate professional refers to all of the above as an ‘attractive nuisance ‘ and as such the lower property value reflects it vs comparables elsewhere in town. As has been stated in these situations, ‘the bitterness of poor quality (=location) remains long after the sweet taste of a low price is forgotten’.

  3. Nate u really should be upfront for who you are and what you represent, just for full disclosure….You are one of the moderators for save our steamship. You have chosen to live around the corner from the steamship….. You knew what you where buying into. Get over it or here’s a novelty move….. it’s still a free country I’m sure anyone would love to have you as a neighbor.

  4. AS a frequent traveler of the early morning steamship run, I notice they have made quite a few changes to quell complaints. Particularly the few and the loud. There is only so much that can be done to satisfy complainers. The trucks that deliver food and products to the island have a set schedule.
    Relocating trucks to New Bedford has been tried at least twice and found to be not economically feasible.

  5. nat, i hope you all get some real answers, but i just wanted say that not all islanders are insensitive, ignorant of the issues and feel entitled. some of us care about our neighbors, here and on the mainland. i understand that many residents of woods hole live in properties that have been in the family for decades – just as we have on island. but that is beside the fact. i am uncomfortable with the idea that some think the town of falmouth exists as one huge parking lot for the SSA.

  6. I live near the MV hospital and the noise from the mediflights is quite a nuisance. Why can’t they ship those people to New Bedford on one of Packer’s barges and then fly them to Boston?

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