SSA canceled trips after vessel struck buoy

The Woods Hole struck a buoy and had to be inspected before continuing to sail. —MV Times

Several trips on the Steamship Authority (SSA) schedule were canceled on Thursday, April 11, for mechanical issues, and because of a stalled vehicle.

The passenger ferry Woods Hole canceled four trips on April 11 because the vessel struck a buoy while navigating out of Woods Hole shortly after its 11:05 am departure. 

“The vessel returned to Woods Hole without incident, and offloaded its passengers and vehicles,” SSA communications director Sean Driscoll said. “No crew or passenger injuries were reported.” 

Driscoll said the vessel underwent an inspection, and the U.S. Coast Guard had been contacted. He later told The Times that the vessel had no damage.

The 1:35 pm departure from Woods Hole ran late, leaving a little after 2 pm, while the 2:50 pm departure from Vineyard Haven will be running on time. 

Also on the 11th, The Martha’s Vineyard’s 9:45 pm departure from Woods Hole was canceled due to needed repairs to the vessel’s stern door. 

The door was stuck in an open position, Driscoll said. 

“The vessel is able to operate safely in that condition,” he said, adding the vessel issue would be fixed overnight. 

A number of trips on the Martha’s Vineyard were also canceled on Wednesday, April 10. The 5 pm departure from Woods Hole and the 6:15 departure from Vineyard Haven were canceled because a stalled semitrailer truck had to be towed off the vessel. 

These issues followed several other vessel problems the SSA experienced recently: The Woods Hole experienced damage to its rub rail and hull a couple of weeks ago while traveling in stormy weather, and a faulty hose canceled Martha’s Vineyard’s trips last week. On the Nantucket route, the fast ferry Iyannough had a cracked hull, and needed to be repaired before returning last week.


  1. The efficacy of the steamship Authority is ludicrous! The public has to speak out and demand improvement. This is our lifeline to the mainland.

  2. it seems as though it doesn’t matter what the public experiences… it just doesn’t matter … all of these ‘problems’ they seem to have are ridiculous …

  3. It would save us all a lot of time and trouble if we just had a US Coast Guard inspection team on standby as this seems to be a reoccurring problem.

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  5. I miss the old steam ship the Islander. It seemed to never have major issues and would give you one he’ll of a sleigh ride in choppy waters.
    Hopefully the SSA can get a service management team to be more astute and proactive to stop these break downs.

    • As they say they don’t make em like they used to. She was a great and reliable vessel for 3 reasons in my eyes. She was double ended and didn’t need to turn around to dock, she was smaller and caught far less wind making her a bit easier to handle in nasty conditions and she was a relatively simple boat compared to the ones of today with all the fancy modern gadgets that tend to break down without any warning.
      I had some great wet and rides on that boat.

    • The Islander was not a steamship, Fairbanks-Morse Diesels.
      It was “single” screw, no thrusters, high windage, unpleasant to handle.
      The SSA is employed at the will of the Dukes, Nantucket and Barnstable county voters.

  6. All these excuses to cover up for the possibility that they the SSA is suffering from a staffing shortage/ sick call in, problem due to unfair wages

  7. Why is every ferry the Authority buys different? There is no common parts, common training for the crews, or any system-wide lessons learned. Other ferry systems around the world develop a common design, and then use that going forward, (which also save millions in design fees for each new ferry). Typical of the SSA’s consistent management and planning failures.

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