Second of the Steel Electrics replacement ferries is the M/V Salish. Nearly identical to the Chetzemoka, the greatest differences have all been under the
waterline. Unlike the Chetzemoka, the Salish and Kennewick both have variable pitch propellers, which will greatly help in their maneuverability in docking at
Keystone--which is allegedly the reason for reassigning the Chetzemoka to the Point Defiance route.
After finishing up construction in Everett, the ferry started builder's sea trials before the state took acceptance in April 2011. After heading to Dakota Creek
Shipyard for installation of the rubrail, the ferry started crew familiarization and dockings in the tricky Keystone Harbor, starting service on 1 July 2011. With
the Salish in service, the Port Townsend-Keystone route saw the restoration of two boat service not seen since the summer of 2007.
The Salish spent a few weeks sitting in on the Bremerton-Seattle route while boats were out for maintenance and emergency repairs where she was equally a
complete failure as she was working the inter-island route in the San Juans. In spite of assurances that the ferry "could work anywhere" the vessel, though
supposedly capable of running at 16 knots, could only muster 13. The state has yet to answer the question as to why that is. Multiple sailings on the route
were canceled in order for the Salish to stay on time. Outside of Port Townsend-Keystone and Point Defiance, the ferries have little usefulness.
Length: 273' 8" Engines: 2 Beam: 64' Horsepower: 6,000 Draft: 11' Speed in Knots: 16 Max Passengers: 750 Propulsion: DIESEL
Max Vehicles: 64 Gross Tonnage: 4623 Tall Deck Space: 9 City Built: Seattle Auto Deck Clearance: 16' 0" Year Built / Re-built: 2011
Meaning of Salish: “ From Salishan/ a group of people in the Northwestern United States and Lower Mainland Canada who speak a common language."
The Salish arriving at Port Townsend in 2014. Photo courtesy of Jody Moore.
|Salish Nemesis: The Crab Pot
The summer of 2017 proved to be a challenging one for Washington State Ferries,
with multiple, unforeseen breakdowns that reverberated throughout the fleet.
Perhaps the worst breakdown and most frustrating one was the Salish, as it could
have been entirely prevented if a careless crab fisherman had not dropped his crab
pot in the ferry lane.
The Salish became inexorably tangled, and in the process, the lines got wrapped
around the shaft as well, severely damaging the seals that keep water out of the
engines and electrical system. The Salish was out for weeks and required thousands
of dollars of repairs.
The 2018 crabbing season was off to another impressive start, with one captain
calling the Port Townsend-Keystone route "like a mine field" trying to dodge crab pots.