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New Washington state ferry boats win national award

Washington state's first new ferries of the 21st century are making waves and charting a course toward success. The Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick were recently named Significant Boats of 2011 by U.S. maritime industry publication WorkBoat Magazine.

"This is a tremendous distinction and one we are excited to share with our partners Vigor Industrial and Elliott Bay Design Group," said David Moseley, assistant secretary for Washington State Ferries. "We're pleased this new class of ferries is getting this well-deserved national attention."

WorkBoat Magazine notified Washington State Ferries (WSF) in early November that the three 64-car vessels were among the 50 boats nominated for the prestigious annual award. Each year, WorkBoat editors review the boats they’ve featured in the magazine and choose the 10 vessels deserving of special recognition.

Winners were announced Nov. 30, 2011 at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, and will be featured in the January 2012 issue of WorkBoat Magazine.

"We're immensely proud of this honor, and of the skilled men and women who labored more than half a million hours to build these great ferries," said Brian Evert, manager of new construction first for Todd Pacific Shipyards and now for the US Fab subsidiary of Vigor Industrial. Vigor acquired Todd Pacific in 2011.

"We were honored to be part of the team," said John Waterhouse, chief concept engineer at Elliott Bay Design Group, which designed the 64-car Kwa-di Tabil Class ferries. “The importance of this project for Washington state was inspiration for our team."

WorkBoat magazine editors said the industry considers the Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick significant because they are the first new boats for the Washington State Department of Transportation - Ferries Division in more than a decade and represent a much-needed vessel upgrade for the Port Townsend/Coupeville route. The boats are also distinctive in design, both inside and out, compared to the other ferries in the WSF fleet.

Photos and information about the Kwa-di Tabil class ferries' history are available on WSF's website.

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