Two Steamship Authority ferries, the M/V Governor and M/V Iyanough, will continue to run on shortened schedules as the summer season begins, general manager Robert Davis said this week.

“We’ve had to scale back,” Mr. Davis said at Tuesday’s port council meeting, citing an unprecedented backlog in the United States Coast Guard’s licensing process for deck officers.

In April, Mr. Davis notified the council and board of governors that 10 Steamship Authority crew members had attended deck officer training over the winter, at the boat line’s expense, and applied to the Coast Guard for testing dates.

“Unfortunately, here we are close to three months later [and] only four of the 10 individuals have been notified that they can test,” he said Tuesday.

One of the four began sitting for the five-part test just this week, Mr. Davis said, while the remaining six applicants are still waiting for the Coast Guard to respond.

“Until these individuals can pass the test, we’ll remain constrained,” he said.

With deck officers in short supply, the freight ferry Governor is running four trips a day instead of seven and the high-speed passenger boat Iyanough, which serves Nantucket, is down to four daily trips from five, Mr. Davis said.

If crew members are willing to work overtime, Mr. Davis said, it may be possible to add a fifth Governor trip to accommodate commuters who take the freight boat.

The Coast Guard bottleneck is affecting mariners nationwide, said chief operating officer Mark Higgins, who joined the SSA earlier this year from a career in Maine ferry systems.

“The documentation center is backlogged and is taking a lot longer to process these applications than it previously did,” Mr. Higgins said.

Port council chair Joe Sollitto asked Mr. Davis whether congressional officials from Massachusetts could intercede for the Steamship Authority in Washington and potentially shorten the backlog.

“We’ve already had those conversations,” Mr. Davis said.

Staffing the shore side of authority operations also has its challenges, human resources director Janice Kennefick said in a hiring report at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Some of the struggles we have are with parking lots and bus drivers,” Ms. Kennefick said.

Some shuttle bus driver applicants have observed that the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority pays a higher wage for its route drivers, she said, although the jobs are very different.

Many job applicants have simply dropped out of the process, with some ignoring phone calls and others failing to show up for interviews, Ms. Kennefick said.

“This is really the time that we’re in, [and] not just at the Steamship Authority,” she said. “It’s not that we’re not receiving applications, it’s just the overall interest.”

Administration positions are easier to fill, while maintenance workers — who may have skilled trades — are harder for the Steamship Authority to attract, Ms. Kennefick said.

The staffing theme also arose as the port council considered renewing the Steamship Authority’s contract with its longtime food concessionaire Centerplate, part of a larger corporation that also serves convention centers, ski resorts and sports arenas. For nearly 30 years now, Centerplate has been serving food and drink aboard the authority’s ferries and at its terminals, Mr. Davis said.

After closing in 2020 and 2021, the concessions are gradually returning to their pre-pandemic levels of service, he said.

“To reopen them was quite a task [and] staffing... has been a challenge as well,” Mr. Davis said.

“But the progress we’ve been seeing here on their services and their being able to maintain staffing at the lunch counters is taking dramatic steps forward here since 2021 when they first came back on board,” he said.

Originally scheduled for renewal July 31, 2022, he said, the Centerplate contract was extended for one year due to the pandemic shutdown. Port council members voted unanimously to recommend another five-year contract with Centerplate to the Steamship Authority board of governors, which meets June 20 on Nantucket.