Mechanical issue sidelines freight ferry Gay Head  

The MV Gay Head is being cleaned and sanitized after a Nantucket terminal employee tested positive for COVID-19. – Rich Saltzberg

Updated 2:35 pm

The Steamship Authority ferry MV Gay Head was taken out of service Sunday morning for a mechanical problem. The vessel was called into service between Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven on Dec. 23 as a stand-in for the MV Katama after it went out of service for a steering malfunction. Bulletins from the SSA stated the Gay Head would miss the 8:35 am. 9:50 am, 11:05 am, and 12:20 pm crossings. Shortly after 11:00 am, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Nathan Mendes told The Times the Gay Head was poised for sea trials and would reenter service. Just before noon the Gay Head pulled into Slip 1 at the Vineyard Haven Terminal with an empty freight deck. Passengers waiting to board with vehicle earlier at the Vineyard Haven Terminal earlier in the morning told The Times they received a call from the SSA at 9:00 am informing them their 9:50 am crossing was cancelled. They said they were advised to hasten to make a 9:30 am boat. When they arrived, they were told that was cancelled too. Those passengers declined to be identified but said they lived in Vineyard Haven. Another passenger, Beth Tessmer of Edgartown, said she felt something was amiss in the way cars were chosen to board the other ferries that came to the terminal while the Gay Head was down. Tessmer later texted she pulled aboard the Gay Head, albeit about 20 minutes late for the 12:20 crossing. The cause of the mechanical problem aboard the Gay Head hasn’t been disclosed by the Coast Guard. SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll could not be reached as he was on vacation. Calls to Regan Communications, a PR firm covering for him, were not immediately returned. Current Conditions may be viewed at  For more information on the status of ferries, please call 508.548.3788 or 508.693.0367

Updated with additional information about the status of the MV Gay Head.








  1. What is this, 3 boats down in less then a week? It’s time someone steps down and someone steps in. The SSA is an abustle joke. Clearly can’t keep the boats in running condition. Can’t say it enough it’s time for another company to take over. It would be nice to know I can visit where I grew up and see my friends and family without worrying about not making it back. That or being stranded with no power in middle of ocean. Stop blaming the weather!

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