MV Chetzemoka

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MV Chetzemoka at Keystone 2011.JPG
Chetzemoka arriving at Keystone (2011)
Name: MV Chetzemoka
Owner: Washington State Ferries
Operator: Washington State Ferries
Route: Point Defiance- Tahlequah
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle
Cost: $77.5 million USD
Launched: March 2, 2010
Maiden voyage: November 14, 2010
In service: November 15, 2010
Status: In Service
General characteristics
Class and type: Kwa-di Tabil-class auto/passenger ferry
Displacement: 2415
Length: 273 ft 8 in (83.4 m)[1]
Beam: 64'
Draft: 11'
Decks: 6
Deck clearance: 16 ft (4.9 m)
Propulsion: Diesel, Fixed Pitch Propeller[2]
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Capacity: 64 vehicles, 748 passengers[3]
Crew: 10

MV Chetzemoka ("The Chetzy") is a Kwa-di Tabil-class ferry built at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, Washington for the Washington State Ferries. It was scheduled to start on the Port Townsend-Coupeville (Keystone)[note 1] route in September 2010, but sea trials revealed excessive vibrations in the vessel's propulsion system.[5] The ferry was christened by Governor Christine Gregoire and began service November 14, 2010.[6]

The vessel was named after the Klallam chief Chetzemoka, who was influential during the early European-American settlement of Port Townsend.[3]

The Chetzemoka began service to Vashon Island on January 23, 2012, replacing the now-retired MV Rhododendron on the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route.


The Chetzemoka's design is based on that of the MV Island Home, a ferry that is owned by The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority. The particular class has had some mechanical issues, causing some in Washington to question the use of the design.

The Chetzemoka's design is somewhat unusual for a Washington State Ferry, as the vessel has two elevators, multiple stairwells, and a smoke stack on the same side of the ferry, instead of being symmetrical, aside from having a single elevator on one side of a typical Washington State Ferry. This oddity in design has given the vessel a pronounced 1 degree list, causing some to call the vessel 'Eileen' (I Lean). When the boat is loaded, the list is not noticeable. The Chetzemoka is also the first "smaller scale" vessel to allow access to the "Texas Deck", the area on top of the vessel between pilot houses. Only the Super-class, Jumbo-class, and Jumbo Mark II-class ferries allow such access. The Chetzemoka is also the first vessel in the Washington State Ferries fleet to have a mezzanine deck, between the main passenger cabin and the car deck, which on one side is primarily configured to hold bicycles (instead of them being relegated to the car deck), and the other simply for passengers. These mezzanine decks are not connected, except via the main passenger cabin, allowing for a full 16 feet (4.9 m) clearance in the center of the vessel.

After some time in service, ballast was added to the vessel correcting the stability issues.


On February 14, 2012, the Chetzemoka's smoke stack overheated. The vessels was not at risk of fire. The overheating was caused by starting and stopping the engines too soon, because the Point Defiance-Tahleqhah route is very short.[7]

On December 4, 2016, the Chetzemoka collided with a smaller vessel, the "Nap Tyme" in Dalco Passage, in between Vashon Island and Point Defiance. Both vessels were fine with no risk of sinking, and no injuries occurred.[8]

On December 24, 2016 the captain of the Chetzmoka suffered a medical emergency and fell upon the controls causing the vessel to pull away from the dock while it was still tied up minutes from it's scheduled departure. No damage was done to the vessel but the docks apron was severely damaged shutting down the Point Defiance Terminal for a week


  1. ^ The Washington State Department of Transportation renamed the Keystone ferry terminal to Coupeville beginning with the Fall 2010 sailing schedule, and currently refers to the terminal as "Coupeville (Keystone)".[4]


  1. ^ Elliott Bay Design Group (September 3, 2008). "New 60-Auto Ferry, Profiles and Arrangements" (PDF). Washington State Ferries. Archived from the original (pdf) on October 14, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Kwa-di Tabil Class". Evergreen Fleet. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "M/V Chetzemoka". Washington State Ferries. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ Moseley, David (August 20, 2010). "New Ferry Chetzemoka Update" (PDF) (Press release). Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ Friedrich, Ed (August 4, 2010). "State's Newest Ferry Over Budget, but Total Package Shouldn't Be". Kitsap Sun. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  6. ^ Gilmore, Susan (November 14, 2010). "Washington state's newest ferry, Chetzemoka, christened Sunday". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  7. ^ "West Coast Ferries Forum". 
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Media related to Chetzemoka (ship, 2010) at Wikimedia Commons