The Carlisle II is the oldest of only two operational examples of a Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet vessel. (The other is the 1922 Steamship Virginia V.) They were once part of a large fleet of small passenger and freight carrying ships that linked the islands and ports of Puget Sound in Washington State in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Carlisle II was built in Bellingham in 1917 by Lummi Island Navigation Company, and first carried freight and passengers between Bellingham and the Carlisle Packing Company’s salmon cannery on Lummi Island. Original power was from a Fairbanks-Morse Type "C-O" Heavy Duty Marine Oil Engine. It was a three cylinder hot bulb (or "semi-diesel") engine rated 75 horsepower at 340 RPM.
Horluck Transportation Co., under Captain Willis Nearhoff, purchased the Carlisle II in 1936 and converted her back to passenger vessel use for the short run between Bremerton and Port Orchard across Sinclair Inlet. The service was heavily used during the war years by personnel commuting to and from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. Eventually Mr. Nearhoff's daughter, Mary Lieske, became manager and then owner of the company. She was also reportedly the first woman ferry captain.
Seattle businessman Hilton Smith bought out Horluck in 1995 and invested almost $300,000 in repairs and upgrades to Carlisle II. In 2008, Kitsap Transit purchased the Carlisle II from Smith and continues to use her as needed on the Bremerton-Port Orchard run.
Carlisle II is still in operation today, offering regularly scheduled foot passenger service between Bremerton and Port Orchard, Washington. [Temporarily out of service for repairs, as of January 2013]
Carlisle II has been designated a "Floating Museum" by the Washington Commission for the Humanities, and her interior is decorated with numerous photos and information about her and other Mosquito Fleet vessels.
- Kitsap County Historical Society, Port Orchard (Images of America), Arcadia Publishing, 2012, page 112, ISBN 0738589225
- Follansbee, Joe, The Fyddeye Guide to America's Maritime History, Fyddeye (Publisher), 2010, page 68, ISBN 0615381537
- Neal, Carolyn, and Janus, Thomas Kilday, Puget Sound Ferries, American Historical Press, 2001, pages 59, 80 ISBN 1-892724-19-7
- Pacific Fisherman Yearbook 1919
- Fairbanks-Morse Instructions pamphlet #2600 for Type "C-O" Heavy Duty Marine Oil Engines
- Ed Friedrich (September 14, 2007), "Mosquito Fleet Veteran Still Going Strong at 90", Kitsap Sun, retrieved 2013-01-29
- Some sources say 1934.
- Lander, Patricia (2002), Guide to Ferryboats of Puget Sound Past and Present, Annapolis, MD: Lighthouse Press, p. 145, ISBN 1-57785-293-1
- King, Niki (2003-07-20). "Sea Change". The Sun. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Kitsap Transit Buys Horluck", Port Orchard Independent, June 12, 2008, retrieved 2013-02-07
- Kitsap Sun staff (November 29, 2012), "Carlisle II still absent from Bremerton-Port Orchard ferry route", Knoxnews.com, retrieved 2013-02-01
- Media related to Carlisle II (ship, 1917) at Wikimedia Commons