The Washington State Department of Trans-portation recently christened its latest ferry, the Suquamish, the fleet’s fourth Olympic-Class vessel.
Last Thursday, in a traditional maritime ceremony, Amy Scarton, who heads the ferry system, broke a bottle of champagne to officially welcome the newest ferry to the fleet.
Gov. Jay Inslee, along with Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman, Sen. Sharon Nelson, Transportation Secretary Roger Millar, and Vigor CEO Frank Foti spoke during the event. Members of the Suquamish Tribe performed a traditional song and blessing to add to the festivities.
The christening marks the Suquamish’s final stage of construction and its preparation for sea trials.
“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,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “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 144-car Suquamish will begin its sea trials in mid-2018 and will start carrying passengers beginning in the fall.
The new ferry will operate on the Mukilteo/Clinton route in the summer and serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.
The Suquamish is the fourth Olympic-Class ferry to replace the aging Evergreen State-Class vessels.