Nantucket returns to service Friday

That's the Island Home arriving late to Woods Hole because it had to wait for the Katama to clear the slip. -George Brennan

Updated 5/20 @9 am

The Steamship Authority ferry Nantucket returned to service on Friday after being cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard, Sean Driscoll, a spokesman for the SSA, told TheTimes in an email.

The vessel remained parked in a Woods Hole slip on Friday morning because of a problem with a generator that the U.S. Coast Guard tells The Times forced the ferry to turn around after it was already underway Thursday morning.

“They were able to get back to shore on a backup generator,” Petty Officer Briana Carter, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard, said. “For now they’ve been issued a no-sail while they conduct maintenance to get that main generator up and running.”

On Thursday evening, the SSA issued an alert saying the Nantucket would remain out of service and would be replaced by the MV Katama. The SSA canceled some trips on Thursday night, and advised travelers that there would be limited capacity for walk-ons because the MV Katama, a smaller freight ferry, would be filling in.

Thursday’s mechanical failures on the Nantucket make it the latest vessel to break down, and it caused a ripple effect for commuters and travelers in Woods Hole Thursday morning.

In a text message Thursday, Driscoll wrote that the Nantucket had a generator issue that was under investigation. “No info at this time on if another vessel will be available or necessary,” Driscoll wrote.

This follows the MV Governor returning to service on Tuesday morning, only to have it immediately have a problem with its bow engine. The Governor remained in Slip 3 in Woods Hole Thursday morning. That ferry had been replaced by the Katama. In answer to a question on why the Governor remained in the slip, Driscoll initially wrote that he would have to get back to The Times with an answer.

Later, he wrote, “The Governor was kept here because we had a slip available and it made sense to avoid transit time to Fairhaven. Repairs have been made, and it’s on sea trial with the Coast Guard now.”

Indeed, the Governor returned to service later in the day Thursday, allowing the Katama to replace the Nantucket.

On Thursday morning, hundreds of people gathered outside in the rain waiting for the Island Home, which was 15 minutes late arriving. As passengers and vehicles were unloaded, the customers huddled around the slip opening, waiting to board the ferry. The Island Home has to load and unload passengers from the freight deck during certain low tides, and that was the case Thursday morning.

Nearby, the SSA’s fancy new $2.2 million canopies had empty walkways underneath them. Not that they would have been much help from Thursday’s rain, because the ticket scanners are at the wrong end of the ramp.


  1. Perhaps the SSA should spend less money on advertising and more money on maintenance and mechanics.

  2. When will the world figure out that the more $$$ SSA can waste the harder it is to get them under control. The bonds/debt are the foundation. Before the State, or any other entity can make fundamental change the bonds must be retired first. The more they waste the harder that becomes.

  3. I was supposed to be on the Thursday 10:45 that was cancelled. Received a text, but why doesn’t the SSA included instructions for what to do if someone has reservations. No communication digitally, or for that matter at the terminal.

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