washington state ferry workers

Generally speaking, I try not to make big sweeping generalizations like “all dogs stink” or “all frat boys are cocky assholes”, but I think I may have found a generalization that I’m willing to support and standby: Washington State Ferry workers are the grouchiest, most unpleasant bunch of people I’ve ever met.

There, I said it. I feel like I’m qualified to make this assessment because having grown up on the Peninsula and living on Bainbridge, I’ve been riding the ferry for years. I even commuted daily to Seattle from Bainbridge for a year. I have never met a pleasant ferry worker. They are always scowling, taking themselves way too seriously and being rude to commuters and unhelpful to tourists. If they think you are driving too fast or if you have your headlights on, they will CUSS you out. They love nothing more than to crucify people for this. And don’t even think about accidentally parking in the wrong lane.

Let me give you a few examples:

Example #1

Ferry workers are total control freaks. You would think they were in the FBI the way they boss people around and act like they are hot shit. Let’s be honest, they are human stop lights. They tell cars where to park, when to stop, when to go and when to turn off their headlights. All of these tasks can be accomplished with either a stop light or a road sign. And yet there are more ferry workers per passenger than there are teachers per student in your child’s school. Go figure.

Anyways, back to example #1. The other day, I drove onto the boat. They pointed me in the general direction – this isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve done this before. I pulled up about a foot from the car in front of me and parked. Done – turned the engine off. As I was getting out of the car, one of the ferry workers walked up and INSISTED that I get back in my car and pull forward six inches. WHAT?!? Are you crazy? It wasn’t even a full boat! Jerk.

Example #2

Random story. My mom is a regular commuter. She commutes from Bainbridge Island to Bellevue everyday (it’s crazy, I know). One summer day, she was riding the ferry and had her bare feet kicked out the car window. As she often does, she fell asleep and took advantage of the extra time for a little nap. She woke up because one of the ferry workers was tickling her bare feet. EWWWW.

Example #3

During the summer, it’s common to get a lot of tourists riding the ferries. Most of the time, they are riding to Bainbridge and then riding right back to Seattle. The tourists don’t know that they have to “disembark the vessel” when they get to Bainbridge. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen ferry workers treat the tourists like they are the biggest idiots because they are confused by this.


For anyone who thinks this sounds like a good gig, successful Washington State Ferry workers:

  • Display a permanent frown and enjoy going out of their way to be rude.
  • Have an uncanny ability to get worked-up over minor things.
  • Enjoy standing around with coworkers.
  • Have a family member that already works for the Washington State Ferry system.
  • Enjoy making unsolicited passes at passengers.
  • Mullets are preferred.

    5 Responses to “washington state ferry workers”

    1. 1 Jenna
      March 26, 2008 at 7:21 am

      You know, I think the attitude of the ferry workers must greatly depend on the route they work. The majority of travel I do on ferries is from Kingston to Edmonds. I travel for doctors appointments and my mom is a work traveler. I have to say I haven’t ever had any bad experiences in my ferry runs. I always give a wave and smile to the workers and they return them very frequently. My mom even has what she calls her “ferry worker friends”.

      Possibly the Seattle-Bainbridge route carries it’s own culture much like the cities it services.

    2. 2 Derek
      March 26, 2008 at 11:52 am

      Ferry workers have got to be the biggest assholes I’ve ran across. I could go on and on with this topic, but Kindra stated the strongest points.

      They are ALWAYS perving on women! Jenna, maybe this is why you don’t see it, because they are trying to perv on you too. I’ve crossed on the Seattle-Bainbridge run and Kingston-Edmonds run for two decades and know that they are both chock-full of assholes. The story of your mom getting her feet tickled makes me sick. I can imagine your mom waking up to some gremlin-looking asshole (with a mullet) down by her feet smiling up at her with a goofy-ass grin.

      Treating tourists like they are complete idiots for not knowing where to go when the ferry docks is classic. Also pulling the car forward or backing it up an inch or two is very typical.

      Makes me laugh when I here the announcement upon departure that says ” If you want to know more about donning a life jacket ask a crew member…”

      Can you imagine walking up to a crew member and asking how to put a life jacket on? You’d probably get punched in the face! Then they’d turn away on you so quickly that their mullet would whip across the fresh wounds on your face.

      I may add more to this at a later time, but just thinking about those jerks is ruinning my day…

    3. 3 sara
      March 27, 2008 at 6:09 pm

      Example #2 makes my skin crawl.

    4. September 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      THANKS For all the Hard Working Ferry Workers that Do A Great Job and Keep the Passengers Happy During the Heavy Summer Season! Your Hard Work is Noticed and It’s never easy keeping all the Passengers Happy but I can see U Try and Meet there Needs and U do a wonderful job on time and keeping the boats clean and Tidy.
      I am a Happy Commuter Bainbridge Island Seattle Ferry Route and I Love and Enjoy the Crew of the M/V Ferry Wenatchee AM Crew Does a Great Job and I been a Happy Passenger for 59 years.
      Thanks for the Great Service and nice Friendly Smiles.

      The Best Always From,

      J Stephen Fox.

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