White's Ferry Is Good to Go

Monday, September 25, 2006

Regarding "Ferry Fuss" [editorial, Sept. 21]: Coast Guard concerns about unlicensed ferry operators on White's Ferry have been resolved. As the editorial said, crossing a river on a ferry is charming. The Coast Guard keeps it that way through compliance with safety standards.

Federal laws require licenses for operators of passenger vessels because human error is involved in about 80 percent of accidents.

Licensing operators helps reduce the likelihood of fires, flooding, capsizing and loading-unloading incidents on ferries. Therefore, we believe that the license requirements are reasonable and necessary.

To be sure, the risk posed by the White's Ferry operation is less than that posed by many ferries. Long ago the Coast Guard worked with the White's Ferry owner to create a specially tailored license for that operation. This simplified license ensures that the operator is able to carry out his or her duties, including the safe loading and unloading of passengers and vehicles, and able to take actions that could prevent or respond to an incident onboard the ferry.

On Wednesday I received a letter from the owner, Edwin Brown, in which he addressed the recent incidents, pledged cooperation and assured me that he will operate his ferry in compliance with the federal regulations. I do not anticipate further disruptions to ferry service.


Captain of the Port

Sector Baltimore Commander

U.S. Coast Guard


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