The “Do This” column by Ray Routhier on July 20 encourages people to travel to the islands of Casco Bay via public ferry. This is problematic and potentially dangerous.

Increasing ridership during the pandemic puts the vessels’ crew at risk by exposing them (and passengers) to larger numbers of riders. The Casco Bay Lines board implemented an “Essential Travel Only” policy that the staff has posted on the Casco Bay Lines website, at all gates, in the terminal and on all vessels. (Disclosure: I am a board member, but I speak here in my personal capacity.) The “essential travel” order makes sense because the board and staff have also reduced the capacity of the vessels to roughly half their usual number to maximize distancing between riders.

Encouraging people to visit the islands for pleasure trips, such as bike riding or visiting beaches, puts pressure on the vessel ridership numbers. This weekend, many people were left behind because maximum capacity had been reached. People who may have been attempting to go home, with groceries or for some other essential purpose, may have been left behind. This adds stress to life on the island, and to the crew, who know that they have been tasked with running an “essential service” only to have to enforce a strict capacity limit.

Lastly, bathroom facilities on Peaks Island have been closed as a result of the pandemic. When day trippers come to the islands, they have no facilities to use, creating an environmental concern.

Twain Braden

Peaks Island

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