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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nichols Brothers Delivers Second Ferry to Kitsap Transit

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 9, 2021

(Photo: Nichols Brothers Boat Builders)

(Photo: Nichols Brothers Boat Builders)

Shipbuilder Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) said it has delivered the second of two 255-passenger-only ferries to Kitsap Transit of Bremerton, Wash. Like the first-in-class-vessel the Enetai, the Commander outperformed design expectations during vessel trials, delivering to Kitsap Transit a lighter, faster, and smoother riding vessel, the builder said. 

Kitsap Transit awarded a design and construction contract to Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for two new ferries in December 2018. NBBB partnered with BMT of Southampton, UK for vessel design.

The Commander and Enetai, are 140’ x 37’ x 12’ aluminum high-speed catamarans built to USCG subchapter K regulations. They are among the first ferries to feature a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system powered by two MTU Tier IV 16V400M65L main engines each putting out 3,435 HP at 1,800rpm, through ZF 9050 gears, turning Kamewa S71-4 waterjets, reaching +38 knots at full load.

Kitsap Transit’s design requirements included a bow-loading configuration allowing the vessels to utilize Washington State Ferries (WSF) existing Southworth car ferry dock for loading and unloading of passengers. With speed requirements of a minimum 35-knot cruising speed it allows for efficient route scheduling not to interfere with WSF’s existing schedule. Plus, passenger comfort and amenities are a priority for Kitsap Transit and their passengers.

During vessel trials the Commander and the Enetai exceeded 40 knots, bettering the speed expectations by 3-knots bringing up the vessels’ cruising speed to 38 knots at full load. The Naiad active ride control system ensured a smooth comfortable ride at the high-speed. The vessels display nimble maneuverability and superior responsiveness owing to its latest generation of waterjet drives and design emphasis on lightweight construction.

In addition to the 255-passenger capacity, the vessel accommodates 26 bicycles, a must for Seattle commuters. Leisure and commuting passengers alike will appreciate the onboard amenities; an advanced heating and air conditioning system will keep passenger areas warm in the winter and cool in the summer, seats and tables are outfitted with outlets and USB ports for laptop and phone charging, and the vessel is equipped with high-speed wifi connectivity.

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