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post #3 of Old 10-16-2003
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Double-ended Ferries, Which end is front?

Washington State Ferries have a pilothouse at each end, so when the boat is ready to leave the dock, the crew moves to the new front of the boat. Sometimes they do turn around or back in, but that is because they loaded cars at the end of the load that need to be offloaded first. That mostly happens on Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas islands and sometimes on Vashon island. Most of the routes are point A to point B though.

It was interesting to learn that the pilot of the crashed boat in NY may have been alone in the pilothouse. I would have assumed at least two or three people to always be on watch especially in a high traffic area such as New York Harbor.

WSF boats travel around 12 knots and last month two ferries came within 400 yards on a collision course just off the Seattle docks in heavy fog with their radar operating before they stopped and manuevered to avoid collision.

Check out the WSF website for more info..

I copied the following from the website.

In the fleet, the Captain (or Master) supervises the entire ship''s operation from the pilothouse, which is the communications and navigation center of the ship. The Chief Mate assists the Captain with the operation of the vessel, often including loading and unloading operations. Except when docking or in tight quarters, the steering of the ship is generally left to the quartermaster who follows the directions of the bridge officer. Able-bodied Seamen (AB) and Ordinary Seamen (OS) work as deckhands, directing vehicles, securing lines when the ship docks, acting as lookouts, patrolling the vessel for safety hazards, and cleaning the vessel.

Beneath the car deck, the engine room and control center are supervised by the Chief Engineer, who oversees repairs and maintenance to the vessel''s mechanical and electrical equipment. The Chief Engineer and the Assistant Engineer also monitor all the control systems and in some instances, control the speed and direction of the vessel, following the Captain''s commands. The Oiler assists the Engineers by circulating through all the machinery spaces, ensuring that everything is operating correctly.

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