Problems Plague Ferry Service Between Cape and Martha's Vineyard

Ferry service from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard has been beset by problems this year, with over 500 cancellations in the first four months, mostly due to mechanical and operational issues on the ships.

"It seems like the Steamship Authority may not have its act together," said Priscilla McCormack, who routinely uses the service.

The boats are critical for both islanders and tourists.

The problems have ranged from generator failures to plumbing issues, in some cases stranding passengers for hours.

The ship named "Martha's Vineyard" has been responsible for much of the disruption, even after it came back from repairs.

"We had a midlife refurbishment of that vessel," said Steamship Authority General Manager Robert Davis. "When it came back online, there were a number of issues that have come to light."

Two Cape Cod lawmakers have now sent a letter to the Steamship Authority, critical of its maintenance, operations and lack of transparent communications with passengers.

The lawmakers are urging the Steamship Authority to hire an outside consultant for a comprehensive review of the system and to hire a communications manager so islanders and tourists are better informed.

"With the series of incidents that have been unreliable, there are some questions about, 'Hey, you know, what's going on?'" said Massachusetts Sen. Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and Islands.

The monthly board meeting for the Steamship Authority takes place on Tuesday on Martha's Vineyard.

Board members will be explaining to islanders how they're tackling the issues. They are expected to get an earful in return.

"I think a lot of people have had a lot of trouble," said Vineyard resident Emily Moehnke. "My husband commutes often and he's been delayed and he's been frustrated."

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