What is a "tourist watch", and why was this significant for scheduling?
A "touring watch" is two successive work periods for ferries crews, totaling 16 hours with sleep period between. For example, one watch might start at 2 p.m. and work the vessel until 10 p.m., then sleep overnight (generally on board) and start again at 6 a.m. and work until 2 p.m., when a second crew takes over. The first watch then has 24 hours off. The total is 80 hours in a two-week period, the same as a regular 8-hour watch.


The advantage to ferry scheduling was that the two work periods could vary as long as they added to 16 hours. So work schedules could be juggled to fit the sailing schedule, rather than vice-versa, which made for more efficient service. This also allowed berthing one of the mainland boats overnight in Friday Harbor, which took the early 6 a.m. sailing to Anacortes.


Beginning in 2010 the Coast Guard no longer allows touring watches because of concerns for crew fatigue. An exception was made for the Interisland boat, which is home-ported in Friday Harbor and begins its day at 6 a.m..


What this change means is that each ferry had to be back in Anacortes for the change of watch after 8 (or 10) hours, where previously it could be 7 hours 10 minutes plus 8 hours 50 minutes, or some other combination that added to 16 hours. More recently there has been some additional flexibility with 7 hours one week and 9 hours the next-- always adding to 80 hours over two weeks.

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1. Why is there such a long mid-day gap in the spring/fall schedule?
2. What is a "tourist watch", and why was this significant for scheduling?
3. I've had problems watching the council video, especially in the evening when the ferry meetings are held. What can I do to make it work better?