Washington State Ferries


Fire School was done in North Bend. Some people camped overnight. Others (including myself) got a room for the night between the 2 days.

Re: Eagle Harbor…if you’re staying in Seattle anyway, you can just catch the early Bainbridge ferry over and you’ll have no prob getting to class there on time…either way.


Well they got me in the 2. April class. I had to submit, and already received, my AB Limited to get AB work.

I’m still hell bent on getting pilotage.

Further, people in the class are saying Puget Sound is considered inland. I thought the demarcation line (Cape Flattery?) was erased and all of Puget Sound was considered near coastal. Is that the case?


Puget Sound and the Inside Passage are considered Inland. But it’s all still International Rules of the Road, as is all of Alaska.


But it’s all still International Rules of the Road…

So STCW applies, or?


No. No STCW in Puget Sound, BC or SE.

‘Inland” has different meanings for different purposes.

Places that are well inside the normal Inland/International demarcation line published in the CFRs, can, and do, elect to just use COLREGS instead of Inland Rules. For example: Bethel, Alaska is 100 miles upriver from the coast, but it’s under COLREGS.

Years ago there were separate: International Rules, Inland Rules, Pilot Rules, Great Lakes Rules, and Western Rivers Rules. Now just two sets of rules, Inland and International, with a few local variations. Now, there really isn’t much difference between the Inland and International Rules. Eventually, the entire US will all be International Rules with just a few local variations, as it should be.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you need STCW for the Sidney run.


STCW probably is required for the WSF to Sidney.

It’s one thing to transit inland waters. It’s another thing to make a foreign voyage on Inland waters to a port in Canada. As far as I know, Canada is fully STCW compliant on the coast. I don’t know about the Lakes.

I assume that the Alaska ferries that merely transit the Inside Passage without making port calls in Canada don’t technically require STCW. But I’m not sure. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Alaska ferries require the officers and crew transiting the Inside Passage to have STCW, even if it isn’t technically required.


It might not be. The Coast Guard has an agreement with Transport Canada for mutual recognition of domestic credentials. From that agreement:
…it is our stated policy that vessels trading between the United States and Canada will abide by the legislation for domestic (home-trade) voyages, of the nation in which they are registered while engaged in cross border trade between the United States and Canada



On their website it says the Chelan is SOLAS. Anyone on the Anacordes to San Juan run?


I didn’t realize that agreement extended to all vesssls. I thought it was just for Tugs and barges.

I have heard that Canada has required a licensed engineer for Tugs over a certain size for the past three years or so. Some companies are hiring licensed engineers for Tugs going to Canada.

However, I’ve cleared into British Columbia several times in the past few three years without a licensed engineer.


But there is no demarcation line in Puget Sound. I have looked over the chart and looked at the CFRs (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/80.1395) (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/part-80)

What I am really looking for is the CFR, or otherwise, that defines Puget Sound as inland with regards to qualifying sea service.


I think the demarcation line is probably out at Cape Flattery, but I’m not sure.

I heard something about the USCG was proposing to credit coastwise seatime for the Inside Passage even though it only requires an Inland license.

These USCG distinctions are all artificial and do not have any relation to reality.

The Seattle REC or OCMI should be able to answer questions on this.


The boundary lines aren’t on the chart they’re in 46 CFR part 7.

This is probably what you want:

§7.145 Strait of Juan de Fuca, Haro Strait and Strait of Georgia WA.

(a) A line drawn from the northernmost point of Angeles Point to latitude 48°21.1′ N. longitude 123°02.5′ W. (Hein Bank Lighted Bell Buoy); thence to latitude 48°25.5′ N. longitude 122°58.5′ W. (Salmon Bank Lighted Gong Buoy “3”); thence to Cattle Point Light on San Juan Island.

(b) A line drawn from Lime Kiln Light to Kellett Bluff Light on Henry Island; thence to Turn Point Light on Stuart Island; thence to Skipjack Island Light; thence to latitude 48°46.6′ N. longitude 122°53.4′ W. (Clements Reef Bouy “2”); thence to International Boundary Range B Front Light.

Here’s a graphic of the boundary line from paragraph (a)


Here’s something I thought of today.

How are people able to get their AB-Limited through WSF?

AB Limited – 540 days deck service on vessels of 100 GRT or more, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U.S. (emphasis mine)

I understand that that Puget Sound could hardly be called a “smaller inland lake” but I understand the line to mean you have to had sailed some near coastal/oceans time.


Puget Sound seatime will be ok.

The folks at WSF are the experts on how all this works.


Yes, the Chelan is a SOLAS vessel.


Well the ferries ended up being a bust for me.


please elaborate for us


It was a very unceremonious GTFO. Fired on the dock waiting for the ferry to show up.

I was never late, I had good evals, but the port captain canned me citing my probationary status.


Any other guys getting fired? Did they over hire and now are clearing out the extras?