Image: Lauren Segal

"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.

Image: Lauren Segal

"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.

Image: Lauren Segal

"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.

Image: Lauren Segal

"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.

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