The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) christened Suquamish, its fourth Olympic Class auto/passenger ferry, to serve passengers on the Mukilteo/Clinton route beginning in 2019.
The christening ceremony was held at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, where the new 144-car ferry has entered the final stages of construction
and preparation ahead of sea trials starting in mid-2018.
In addition to summer operations on the Mukilteo/Clinton route, the new ferry will also serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.
“Suquamish joins the 22-boat fleet that serves the customers and communities of our state's integrated, multimodal transportation system,” said Transportation Secretary, Roger Millar. “The addition of a new boat helps us continue planning for the state's transportation future.”
“Our marine highways are an irreplaceable part of our state's transportation system, with ferries carrying over 24 million people each year across our state's waters,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “It is critical for us to continue replacing our oldest ferries and I am proud to celebrate the Suquamish and the Washingtonians who built it.”
The first Olympic Class vessel, Tokitae
the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014, followed by the second ferry, Samish, which began service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route in June 2015, and Chimacum
, the third vessel in the class, which entered service
on the Seattle/Bremerton route in June 2017.
“The State's wise decision to build these four Olympic Class ferries in succession resulted in cost reductions and quality improvements in each successive build,” noted Vigor CEO, Frank Foti
. “Vigor and the skilled men and women who built these ferries are honored to partner with Washington State Ferries and we commend the Legislature for its critical investments in marine transportation for the state's citizens.”
“This construction milestone is an incredible accomplishment for our design and construction teams at ferries,” said Amy Scarton, the WSDOT assistant secretary, Ferries Division
. “I am honored to christen our new ferry and I can't wait for our customers to ride Suquamish next year.”
The vessel’s name honors the Suquamish people, a tribe that has inhabited the central Puget Sound for approximately 10,000 years. The Suquamish name translates into the “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Salish Lushootseed language.