An Extraordinary Time » How We Got to Where We Are and How We Are Shaping Our Future

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Homeland Security

In this era of terror, how safe do you feel riding the ferries?  After the London bombings July 7, Washington State Ferries raised its Marine Security (MARSEC) level for the first time since 9/11. At MARSEC Level 2, armed Coast Guard escorts increase, and so does the number of bomb-sniffing dogs screening vehicles.

Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry service in the United States and the third-largest in the world. The biggest ferries can hold up to 212 vehicles and 2,500 passengers.


Gil Ward, 56, West Seattle
I feel safe because I think Seattle is a cool city. I don’t think we tend towards extremists.

Ell Corum, 56, Seattle
I do not feel safe riding the ferry system. I ride the ferry on a regular basis, at least once a week or twice a week, and I’ve seen a lot of things here that make me very nervous. I see random. …I had a conversation and I was informed that because of political interests they aren’t able to do what they need to do.

State Patrol trooper Robert Miner, on the canine team, 41 and his dog, Bo, yellow lab, age 2
We haven’t run into anything big yet but we’re confident that if there is something out here that’s substantial these dogs will easily detect it. I believe its going to be the passengers that ride these boats every day that will catch a potential terrorist because they know the system, they ride it everyday and they know best what looks in place and out of place. That’s my honest belief that they’re gonna be the heroes out of this, not us. I believe that 100%.

Catherine Macala, 19 Bainbridge Island

If we had no security measures and we had no people protecting us as we get on the boat or just even looking out for that kind of stuff then I would feel quite unsafe. But as it is I think this is about as safe as we’re gonna be.

Mary Lou Macala, 53 Bainbridge Island
It was similar to the feeling about the bombings in London that if they’re going to do it, it’ll happen and so even with all of the security.

Schuyler Boone, 19, Bainbridge Island
I was taking pictures of the coast guard vessel which has been escorting the ferry and just in the past 20 minutes I’ve seen it intercept 2 motorboats that came a little too close to the ferry. I feel rather safe. Certainly there’s always the threat of terrorism and of something really bad happening but they have a lot of great people out here doing their job to see that nothing bad happens and so long as they’re out here there’s no reason to get very scared.

Realistically you read the news everyday and you hear about attacks here and attacks there, and explosions and car bombs, but you wonder with all the security measures in place how many attacks would have happened or were thwarted by people who were doing their job and who are there in places of high risk to prevent something really bad from happening. I think there’s probably a lot of unsung heroes out there that we don’t hear about.

















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