Join Washington State Ferries for a 'ferry' big party

Written by Hadley Rodero and originally published in the WSDOT

Washington State Ferries will celebrate the newest state ferry, Suquamish, with a community celebration at WSF’s Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility on Bainbridge Island on Saturday, Sept 22.

The public is invited to take part in vessel tours, a speaking ceremony, kids’ activities, free food and live music on board the new ferry from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Suquamish Community Celebration attendees will explore the newest Olympic-class ferry and get a glimpse of the wheelhouse while enjoying complimentary food from galley food vendor Centerplate and music from the Bainbridge Island High School Band. Before boarding the new vessel, attendees will also get a rare chance to pass through WSF’s Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility, where all state ferries go for maintenance and preservation work. At 1 p.m., guests will be invited to gather on the vessel car deck for a brief ceremony.

The Suquamish is the fourth, and last funded, Olympic-class ferry christened in January 2018 and accepted to the state fleet from ship builder Vigor on July 26. The new ferry’s name means “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Coast Salish Lushootseed language, taken from the name of the indigenous people whose traditional winter village is located on the beach in front of the Old Man House on Agate Passage in Kitsap County.

Throughout the day, members of the Suquamish Tribe will celebrate the ferry that carries the tribe’s name, including remarks by Chairman Leonard Forsman and a presentation by Suquamish Song and Dance.

“I look forward to celebrating this important milestone with our customers, our ferry-served communities, the people who built this new ferry, and our dedicated WSF employees,” said Transportation Secretary Roger Millar. “This new ferry brings us one step closer to stabilizing our ferry fleet and ensuring reliability for our 24.5 million annual ferry customers."

With room for 144 cars and 1,500 passengers, Suquamish, like its sister vessels Chimacum, Tokitae and Samish, offers flexible seating configurations, wider stairways and vehicle lanes, and two elevators, making these Olympic Class ferries the most accessible vessels in the fleet. Suquamish meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emission standards, making it the cleanest vessel in the fleet. The total construction cost was $122 million in addition to equipment provided by WSF. It will operate on the Mukilteo/Clinton route in the summer and will serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.

Event goers should wear sturdy, comfortable shoes as there may be uneven surfaces onsite. The event location is about a 10-minute walk from both the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal and downtown Winslow. Thanks to Kitsap Transit, attendees can catch a shuttle from the ferry terminal to get to the event. There is ample parking at and near the ferry terminal and in the downtown area. ADA parking and a pick-up/drop-off area will be available at WSF’s Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation to the event.

This event is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors including Vigor, Maxum Petroleum, Bronswerk, Bagby Elevators, Valley Power Systems, Rolls Royce and Supergraphics.

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