Steering issue hobbles ferry

The ferry Island Home isn't moving from the slip in Woods Hole this morning because of a steering issue. -George Brennan


A mechanical problem with the Steamship Authority ferry Island Home bottled up traffic in Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven Wednesday morning, stranding commuters and freight haulers.

At least two crossings were canceled. Just before 8 am, SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll told The Times the issue is “related to the vessel’s steering,” but couldn’t yet offer anything more detailed. Driscoll later described the problem as electrical in nature — a breaker tripped when the Island Home started up in the morning. 

“Crews reset the system and did due diligence examining the electrical system, but the issue never repeated,” he messaged.

The loss of electricity via the breaker was what hampered steering, he added. 

He noted the U.S. Coast Guard cleared the vessel to return to service. He expects the Island Home to return to service for the 1:15 pm crossing. 

Driscoll previously said the MV Nantucket was put online to take over for the Island Home. Midday Wednesday, Driscoll said the Nantucket would also do an extra run to mop up anyone waiting at the terminals. 

The Island Home, the ferry service’s largest ferry, just returned to service two weeks ago from maintenance, and immediately had mechanical issues

Updated with new information about when the Island Home will return to service and the nature of the mechanical issues it faced.


  1. Bring back a respectable and reliable boat like the islander..! Spending millions of dollars for bigger, faster, more electronics doesn’t relate to more efficient.

    Hold on to your seats for yrs of continued break downs

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