Olympic-class ferry

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MV Tokitae en route from Clinton to Mukilteo.
Class overview
Builders: Vigor Industrial, Seattle, Washington
Operators: 2014–present: Washington State Ferries
Built: 2012–2018 (planned)
In service: 2014–present
Planned: 4
Completed: 4
Active: 4
General characteristics
Type: auto/passenger ferry
Displacement: 4384 long tons
Length: 362 ft (110.3 m)
Beam: 83 ft 4 in (25.4 m)
Draft: 16 ft 6 in (5.0 m)
Depth: 24 ft 6 in (7.5 m)
  • 2 vehicle
  • 1 passenger / 1 sun deck
Deck clearance: 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m)
Installed power: Total 6,000 hp (4,500 kW) from 2 x Diesel engines
Propulsion: Diesel
Speed: 17-knot (31 km/h)
  • 1500 passengers
  • 144 vehicles (max 30 commercial)
Notes: All specifications are subject to change. Vessels in design and construction phase.[1]

The Olympic Class ferries are the newest vessels to the Washington State Ferries (WSF) fleet. The ferries are intended to allow the agency to retire the aging Evergreen State-class ferries currently in service. The ferry design is based on the Issaquah-class ferries which have proven to be the most reliable and versatile in the fleet. The Olympic Class ferries are designed to serve all routes and terminals in the WSF system.[2] All vessels are being built in Washington as required by state law.[3]


Ferries in this class include:


In the early 2000s, WSF began planning a replacement for their aging Steel Electric-class ferries, which were built in 1927 and were WSF's oldest ferries. They were the only vessels in WSF's fleet that were able to run on the Port Townsend-Keystone route as no other vessel could be used in the small, shallow Keystone Harbor. WSF planned to move the ferry terminal out of Keystone Harbor and build a 144-car vessel to replace the 60-car Steel Electrics used on the route. Some local residents opposed this plan, so no new ferries were built. When the Steel Electrics were retired in 2007 due to hull corrosion, the WSF had no auto ferries able to serve the Port Townsend - Keystone route. WSF replaced the Steel Electrics with three smaller Kwa-di Tabil class ferries that carry 64 cars and entered service between November 2010 and January 2012.[4]

It was announced on June 20, 2012 in The Seattle Times that State of Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond had selected the name "Olympic Class" from more than 130 suggestions from department employees.[5] On November 13, 2012 the Washington State Transportation commission named the first ferry MV Tokitae and the second MV Samish.[6]

The Tokitae's hull was rolled out of the construction building onto a drydock on Saturday, March 2, 2013. It was joined by the superstructure from Nichols Brothers Boatbuilders of Freeland, Whidbey Island on Sunday, March 3, 2013. On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, the superstructure was on top of the hull.[7]

The keel laying of the Samish happened on Friday, March 8, 2013. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was the one to strike the first weld on the Samish.[8]

The Samish was accepted by Washington State Ferries on April 10, 2015 and officially christened on May 20 in Anacortes. The ship underwent two months of sea trials and crew training before entering service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route at the start of the Summer 2015 sailing season on June 14.[9]

Funding for a third Olympic class was authorized in the Spring 2014 session of the Washington State Legislature and the keel laying and first weld took place on December 9, 2014.[2]

The name Chimacum was picked for the third ferry by the Washington State Transportation Commission in November 2014 after a public outreach process.[2]

The Chimacum joined the fleet on 7 April 2017.[2]

Funding for a fourth Olympic class was authorized in the 2015 session of the Washington State Legislature with construction beginning on January 4, 2016.[2]

The Suquamish was officially taken delivery by the WSP in July 2018 [10] and first sailed on the Mukilteo/Clinton run on October 4, 2018.[11]

While the Suquamish is the fourth and final planned Olympic class ferry, the state plans to build a new fleet of vessels to replace existing ferries that are reaching the 60-year-old threshold for retirement. At least five ferries are slated for replacement by 2028 and thirteen by 2042.[12]


  1. ^ 144 Auto Ferry Plans Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Goldenberg, Joy. "Ferries - Olympic Class (144-Car) Ferries". wsdot.wa.gov. Washington State Ferries. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  3. ^ Built in Washington Ferries, RCW 47.60.814(17)
  4. ^ Press Release about New Ferries Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Announcement Regarding Ferry Class Title
  6. ^ Announcement Regarding Ferry Names
  7. ^ Photo proving that the hull and superstructure were united on March 6th, 2013
  8. ^ Moseley, David. Weekly Update. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Welcome aboard, Samish! New Olympic Class ferry joins WSF fleet". Washington State Ferries. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  10. ^ "New ferry Suquamish joins state fleet" (Press release). Washington State Department of Transportation. July 26, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Brown, Andrea (October 5, 2018). "Brand spanking new ferry Suquamish launches into service". The Everett Herald. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  12. ^ Pilling, Nathan (August 9, 2018). "Before new ferry Suquamish sets sail this fall, take an early look inside". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved December 6, 2018.

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