SEATTLE – A new vessel has joined the state ferry fleet. On Thursday, July 26, Washington State Ferries officially accepted the Suquamish from ship builder Vigor.
The Suquamish is scheduled to begin to carry passengers this fall after crews complete outfitting and training on the new vessel.
The ferry will operate on the Mukilteo/Clinton route in the summer and will serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.
“Welcoming the Suquamish to our fleet brings us one step closer to providing much-needed relief to our system,” said Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “This new ferry will help modernize our aging fleet and allow us to perform necessary maintenance to keep our ferries reliable and in good working order.”
Facts about the Suquamish
· Room for 144 vehicles and 1,500 passengers.
· Offers wider stairways and vehicle lanes and two elevators, making the Olympic Class ferries the most accessible vessels in the fleet.
· The total construction cost was $122 million in addition to equipment provided by Washington State Ferries.
· Meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emission standards, making it the cleanest vessel in the fleet.
Christened Suquamish in January 2018, the new ferry’s name means “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Coast Salish Lushootseed language, taken from the name of the beach in front of the Old Man House on Agate Passage in Kitsap County.
Long-range planning for the ferry system
The Suquamish is the fourth, and last funded, Olympic Class ferry. Washington State Ferries is developing a Long Range Plan to plan for the needs of the ferry system through 2040. The plan, which will be delivered to the legislature on Jan. 2, 2019, will identify and recommend additional new vessel needs to replace the oldest ferries and ensure system reliability. To maintain current service, thirteen ferries will need to be replaced by 2040 as aging vessels reach retirement age.
Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries nearly 25 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter.