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WSP called more than 2,000 times in 2016 for 'bad behavior' from state ferry passengers

WSF says in 2016, they had to call the Washington State Patrol for help more than 2,000 times. That’s up from just under 1,000 calls in 2015. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE, Wash. -- There’s a troubling trend on the rise aboard Washington State Ferries - it’s bad behavior.

Traveling by ferry provides a picture perfect view, and for many a chance to unwind. But just last year inappropriate passenger episodes doubled.

In December, KOMO engineer Mario Magana captured a disturbing alteration on his cell phone camera on the Seattle-to-Bremerton route. A man was yelling profanities and causing a major disturbance.

“To hear the captain come on the PA and have him say we’re going back to Seattle, I was in shock that we were going back,” said Magana.

Washington State Ferries says in 2016 ferry crews had to call the Washington State Patrol for help more than 2,000 times. That’s up from just under 1,000 calls in 2015.

“We see things like people taking their clothes off, we see fights and we see aggressive driving,” said Ian Sterling, spokesman for Washington State Ferries.

David Surface, who on Wednesday was working as a second mate aboard the MV Tacoma, said aggressive driving is really bad on the lower deck.

“I think it’s a result of the road rage and the status our road system,” he said.

Passengers who break the rules pay a price for bad ferry boat behavior.

“You can be barred from ferry property or riding a state ferry for up to a year,” said Sterling. “That’s a pretty serious consequence if you live in a community where a ferry is your way to and from work or to and from home.”

As for the man who was loud and using foul language and acting inappropriate aboard a ferry back in December - he was taken off the vessel by Washington State Patrol and was banned from using state ferries for 60 days.

“We want everybody to be safe out here,” said Sterling. “We are the safest ferry system in the world and we want to keep it that way.”

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