Steamship expects Gay Head service on Thursday

The Gay Head is expected to resume service on Thursday Aug 4. — Rich Saltzberg

The Steamship Authority expects the freight ferry Gay Head to return to service on Thursday after repairs in Connecticut. The vessel went out of service with what SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll described as a “four-inch crack” in its hull. Driscoll said the crack was caused by “metal fatigue.” The absence of the vessel has impacted SSA service. 

In a Tuesday statement, Driscoll wrote, “Repairs are under way on the MV Gay Head at Thames Shipyard in New London, Conn. The repair consists of the removal and renewal of a section of the vessel’s steel hull measuring 18 inches by 24 inches. The vessel will be undocked on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, and will return to Hyannis later that same day. The MV Gay Head will resume service on the Nantucket route Thursday, starting with its scheduled 5:30 am departure from Hyannis.

“Also starting Thursday, the MV Sankaty will remain on the Martha’s Vineyard route and resume its published schedule. Booking is now reopened for automobile reservations on the Vineyard route. Online automobile reservations remain shut down on the Nantucket route to allow our reservation office the ability to better accommodate reservations from the week that have yet to be rescheduled. We anticipate online booking to resume on Friday at the latest; customers should continue to check for updates. Customers on the Nantucket route with urgent travel needs can call the Reservation Office at 508-477-8600 for assistance. As a reminder, passengers for our traditional ferry service do not require reservations, and passenger reservations for our high-speed ferry are unaffected.”

The repair of the Gay Head took some effort, Driscoll told The Times. Another SSA freight ferry, the Katama, was in drydock at Thames Shipyard for scheduled work when the Gay Head was sent there for emergency repairs. The Katama had to be refloated and moved out of the way so the Gay Head could use the dry dock, Driscoll said. 


    • At the same time, as we all know, the Island Queen is seasonal. So, it’s mechanicals could probably be proactively dealt with prior to the season starts hence not having to be cancelled. That said, the SS boats are also in regular maintenance schedules, so in theory there shouldn’t be too many “emergencies”. I guess the bigger question is, how much more “metal fatigue” exists on this vessel or any of the others that’s just waiting to be exposed?

  1. Glad to know reservations will once again be opened. But I’m confused by another boat being cancelled at 7:30 Tuesday night because of “trip consolidation.” Either our boats are too crowded, or they’re not. Which is it? Before this year I don’t remember that being a rationalization for cancelling a run. I guess it saves the SSA money, when they can run one boat instead of two, but it’s confusing, isn’t it?


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