Out of service

The John W. Johnson ferry is docked at the Galveston ferry landing on Tuesday. Since being christened in 2011, the vessel has been taken out of service several times. 





GALVESTON — The John W. Johnson, a $24 million ferry that was commissioned by the state in 2011, is again out of service.

According to state transportation officials, the Johnson was taken out of service recently for maintenance work.

“Our team has completed various system diagnostics, and necessary repairs have been made along with upcoming routine maintenance that would have otherwise taken the vessel out of service again in the near future,” said Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Danny Perez.

Perez did not specify what the repairs were.

The 265-foot John W. Johnson was christened in 2011. It can carry as many as 70 cars and up to 500 individual passengers.

The boat has had been taken out of service several times.

While it was christened in November 2011, the Johnson did not begin carrying passengers until August 2012, as software and hardware failures prevented it from passing U.S. Coast Guard inspections.

Four days after it was first launched, the boat was taken out of service because of “software issues,” officials said.

In October 2013, the Johnson lost power during sea trials in Galveston Bay and had to be towed back to the docks. 

At that time, officials blamed unconnected communication equipment that activated a fail-safe mechanism.

Four other boats provide service between the island and the peninsula.

The Johnson is tentatively scheduled to return to service next week, Perez said.

“The crew is presently conducting sea trials,” Perez said. “We are eager to get the vessel back into service, and we continue to collaborate and coordinate with the United States Coast Guard to get the Johnson back into service.”


Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com.

(5) comments


Who built it? Hold them responsible.

Dwight Strain

No secret, boats are money pits, but, 24 million, you should be able to drive it off the lot. Guess its not exactly a Buick.

Stevie Maradeo

The state bought the boat while it was docked in Louisiana get off "finishing touches" done. But it sat in Louisiana too long and expired the warranty on the purchase so the sale has been finalized and we get stuck with a piece of crap.

Paul Steele

Who bought it and approved the sale should be investigated.

George Croix

Software problems?
Call in Jeff Zeints.
He can get the front end of the messed up new ferry working pretty quick.
The back end will likely take a while...or, never work at all....[whistling]

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