"Some days [I’m] washing the windows and then here comes an out-of-town tourist and they’re like, ‘This is just amazing’ and I go, ‘Yeah, you know, it is.’ I really can’t complain about my job.”
The Deft Deckhand: Vanessa Perry
Ordinary Seaman, Bremerton Route, Tenure: 13 Years
Like a nautical jack of all trades, an OS directs cars, cleans up, patrols the ferry, and secures lines after landing.
"I kind of consider us like the elves—we only come out at night... We do our maintenance at night, and that’s when we’re really actually working. But during the day we’re watch-standing...doing our rounds, monitoring the plant, checking systems.”
The Boss Below Deck: Wil Salmonson
Chief Engineer, Kaleetan, Tenure: 19 Years
After passengers leave, the real work starts for engineers: refueling, changing oil and filters, and doing maintenance.
"I've met a lot of nice commuters that actually work downtown... You learn about people—just in the short [time] frame of them loading the boat. I know they're going to be on the 4:15 or the 5:30 and they always [are]."
The Familiar Face: Kim Wenger
Terminal Employee, Colman Dock, Tenure: 6 Years
Working at the dock involves everything from selling walk-on and vehicle tickets to loading the boat to performing security sweeps.
"It was one of those wonderful Northwest days...you had that mushy snow blowing... My job as the ordinary seaman was to go up on the dock and keep people back... And I’m just getting soaking wet and cold, and I looked up [at the pilothouse] and I saw some [captain] in white short sleeves...chewing the fat...and I said, ‘That’s the job I want right there.’”
O Captain, My Captain: Greg Sugden
Relief Captain, Tenure: 39 Years
More than driving the boat, captains are responsible for the ferry's overall operation: navigating and otherwise ensuring a safe, on-time arrival.