|M / V S U Q U A M I S H
Class: Olympic Length: 362 ft 3 in (110.4 m) Beam: 83 ft 2 in (25.3 m) Draft: 16 ft 6 in (5.0 m) Depth: 24 ft 6 in (7.5 m)
Decks: 2 vehicle 2 passenger (Main Cabin, Sun Deck) Deck clearance: 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m)
Engines: 2 x EMD 12-710G7C Diesel Engines Speed: 17-knot (31 km/h)
Capacity: 1500 passengers 144 vehicles
Name translation: from the tribe of the same name, “people of the clear salt water.”
Photo of the Suquamish on builder's trials courtesy of WSDOT.
In addition to honoring the Suquamish Tribe, the new
Olympic Class ferry will also be paying homage to an
earlier predecessor--the pioneer passenger vessel
M/V Suquamish of 1914.
The first Suquamish bears the historic distinction of
being the first diesel powered passenger vessel on
Puget Sound, and, according to Wikipeida, the first
diesel passenger vessel in the United States.
(Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives.)
From Wikipedia: Suquamish was built for and originally owned by the Kitsap County Transportation Company (“KCTC”), which operated the vessel between Pier 3, Seattle (now Pier
54) and Poulsbo, Washington, making three round trips a day, with 14 landings on each trip. These 42 daily landings tested the endurance of the boat, as the clutch and reverse gears
were constantly in use at these landings and the vessel was worked many times under the strain of a spring line tied to the wharves. In 1915, it was reported that Suquamish was
satisfactory and economical as compared with the steam-driven KCTC vessels.
The vessel was re-engined in 1922 with 125 horsepower Gulowsen-Grei diesel. In 1923, KCTC had Suquamish on the Fletcher-Bay-Brownsville-Manzanita route.
In 1930, the Puget Sound Navigation Company (“PSN”), the dominant passenger and ferry concern on Puget Sound, secured a mail contract for the San Juan Islands. PSN put the
steamers Monticello and Mohawk on the route, but there wasn't enough business to sustain two steamers of their size, and so PSN secured the use of Suquamish from KCTC. Suquamish
was placed on a route running from Bellingham to San Juan Island, where it made a connection with Mohawk. Suquamish was also used on holiday excursions. The mail contract expired
in December 1930, and Suquamish was returned to KCTC.
Suquamish was out of service and idle from about 1931 to 1938. In 1935, PSN acquired KCTC and the entire KCTC fleet, including Suquamish. PSN sold Suquamish to the Lake
Washington Shipyard, which in turn, in late 1938, sold Suquamish to R.G. Gibson. Suquamish was re-powered and used as a charter vessel. After some ownership changes, Suquamish
ended up working as a commercial fishing vessel in Canada under the name Terry.
The keel for the fourth Olympic Class, January of 2016. The ferry is ostensibly the first in the replacements for the rapidly deteriorating Super Class ferries--in this
case the Hyak, but at the moment it seems to be a race as to which Super Class ferry is in the worst shape, each needing over twenty million in repairs.
The Transportation Commission announced that the vessel was to be named Suquamish, having competed with Cowlitz. The latter didn't garner enough
support. "Sammamish" was on the table as well, but the Coast Guard objected (and rightly so) to it being too close to the already existing Samish. Crews had also
expressed concerns over the two very similar-sounding names, along with the existing Salish. According to the article in the Kitsap Sun, because of the objection of
the Coast Guard, "Sammamish" was dropped from consideration.
The ferry started builders trials in July of 2018 and is due to be handed over to WSF in August. Upon completion of final fitting out, trails and crew training, the
Suquamish is due to go into service in the autumn of 2018, likely filling in for one of the other Olympic Class vessels for its maintenance period. She will have no
permanent assignment, serving the Mukilteo-Clinton run from roughly mid-May to October, and serving as a relief for a Super or other Olympic Class for the rest of
Check out the state's official page HERE.