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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Bidding Opens to Build Electric Ferry for Service to Guemes Island

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

September 14, 2023

Rendering of the Guemes Island electric ferry (Image courtesy Glosten)

Rendering of the Guemes Island electric ferry (Image courtesy Glosten)

Washington's Skagit County is inviting U.S. shipyards to bid for a contract to construct a new all‐electric car and passenger ferry.

In 2017, Skagit County Public Works enlisted Glosten to design an environmentally friendly all‐electric replacement for the diesel‐powered ferry Guemes, which has serviced the half-mile route between Anacortes and Guemes Island since 1979.

After some funding-related delays, the county approved the Seattle-based naval architecture firm's preliminary design in 2021, and later that year Canal Marine & Industrial, based in Canada, was selected to serve as electrical systems integrator.

Glosten developed a 160-foot-long double ended ro-pax ferry with a propulsion plant consisting of twin Schottel L-drive azimuthing thrusters, electrically driven by a battery‐electric system. The vessel's energy storage system (ESS) will be manufactured by Corvus Energy, with batteries sized for round-trip operations as shore charging will occur in Anacortes only. For auxiliary, the vessel will also be equipped with a Caterpillar C18 marine diesel genset. The steel-hulled Subchapter‐T vessel will have an aluminum superstructure and capacity for up to 28 cars.

Bidding shipyards are required to submit their proposals by December 4, 2023. The engineer’s estimate range for the project is from $19.5 million to $22.2 million, and the winning yard must complete the vessel by March 31, 2026.

“This is an exciting milestone in the process to replace the current ferry,” said Skagit County Commissioner Ron Wesen. “The ferry provides a vital transportation link to Guemes Island, and we’re looking forward to finding a partner to help us deliver the first all‐electric ferry in our community.”  

Skagit County has operated a vehicle and passenger ferry service between Anacortes and Guemes Island, Wash. since the early 1960s. Its current vessel, Guemes, is a 21‐vehicle, 99‐passenger ferry that was designed by Nickum & Spaulding and built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Mass. According to the county, the ferry operates 365 days a year and transports roughly 200,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers annually.

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