SEATTLE – The new class of 144-car Washington state ferries currently under construction will be named after a beloved Washington landmark, the Olympics.
The winning name, Olympic, was selected by Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond after a contest among Washington State Department of Transportation employees resulted in more than 130 submissions.
“I loved the mountain range theme,” said Hammond. “Mountains and ferries are both iconic symbols of Washington state, so what better name for this new group of vessels?”
“You can see the Olympic mountains from any ferry route in our system,” said Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “Plus, the Olympic Peninsula is a popular tourist destination – just like our unique marine-highway system.”
All Washington state ferries are categorized into different vessel classifications, or vessel classes. For example, the recently-constructed 64-car ferries – Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick – are part of the Kwa-di Tabil class. A panel of representatives from the Governor’s Office, ferry advisory committees, vessel crew members and WSDOT narrowed the choices from WSDOT employee submissions. Moseley forwarded his top three choices to Hammond, who made the final selection. The Washington State Transportation Commission chooses individual vessel names. As with the Kwa-di Tabil-class vessels, the commission will have a public submission process to name the Olympic-class vessels.
The WSDOT Ferries Division is funded to build two new 144-car ferries. The first ferry is under construction at Vigor Shipyard and scheduled to begin service in early 2014. Construction on the second ferry will begin in December.