The Steamship Authority governors this week finalized a policy prohibiting children younger than 13 from traveling unaccompanied.
At their monthly meeting Tuesday in Woods Hole, the governors voted to establish a policy that children up to age 13 must travel with a person 13 years of age or older who is responsible for their care and custody.
Steamship Authority general manager Wayne C. Lamson told the Gazette Wednesday that the discussion came before the board because the boat line’s previous policy required accompaniment only for children five years and younger. The board solicited feedback after discussing the issue at February’s meeting, and ended up receiving more than 100 emails and website comments, Mr. Lamson said.
“We got quite a bit of feedback,” Mr. Lamson said, and the board was “pleased with the response that we got.” Some thought there should be no restrictions, he said, while others suggested restrictions up to age 18. But most people, he said, agreed with a threshold around 12 or 13 years of age.
The board concurred with the 13-year age limit, he said, and nobody spoke for or against the proposal at the meeting Tuesday. Mr. Lamson noted that underage Falmouth Academy students who commute from the Vineyard are usually accompanied by other students, and he didn’t anticipate any problems. “They are really, really good,” he said, noting that the students usually spend their commute doing homework.
According to a meeting summary, Mr. Lamson reported that the authority’s license agreement with SeaStreak Martha’s Vineyard would be automatically renewed to continue high-speed ferry service between New Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard through the end of September 2014. Mr. Lamson also briefed the board on the status of the new Steamship Authority website. It is expected to launch in early April.