Ferry Wenatchee en route to Bainbridge Island.
|Transit type||Jumbo Mark-II-class ferry|
|Authority||Washington State Ferries (1951–present)|
|System length||8.6 miles|
|Travel time||30 - 35 minutes (2018)|
|Yearly ridership||6,320,820 passengers (2015)|
|Connections at Winslow|
|Kitsap Transit, Clallam Transit|
|Connections at Seattle|
|King County Water Taxi|
|Pioneer Square station|
|King County Metro, Sound Transit Express|
The Seattle–Bainbridge ferry is a ferry route across Puget Sound between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, Washington. The route was called the Seattle–Winslow ferry before the city of Winslow annexed the rest of the island and changed its name. Since 1951 the only ferries employed on the route have belonged to the Washington state ferry system, currently the largest ferry system in the United States.
This ferry route is 8.6 miles long, with terminals at Colman Dock in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island, at Winslow. Next to the Winslow terminal is the main shipyard for the Washington State Ferry system.
Before ferries were dominant on Puget Sound, the route was served by passenger and freight-carrying steamboats. The wooden steamship Florence K served the route for the Eagle Harbor Transportation Co., until 1915 when the company put the new steamer Bainbridge on the route, and shifted Florence K to the Seattle–Port Washington route.
In 1949, the Chippewa served on the route, except during summers, when the Chippewa was transferred to the Anacortes-San Juan Islands-Sidney route. From 1951 to 1968, the main ferry on the route was the Illahee which ran along with the Quinault (1951-1953), Evergreen State (1954-1959), and Tillikum (1959-1968), with the steam ferry San Mateo occasionally running as an extra boat.
In 1968, with increasing demand exceeding vehicle capacity, Tillikum and Illahee were reassigned to the Edmonds-Kingston route, and replaced by the Super Class boats Kaleetan and Elwha, both with capacities of 2,500 passengers and 160 (originally) automobiles. In 1972-1973 the Super Class vessels were displaced by the Jumbo class Spokane and Walla Walla, which remained in Bainbridge Island service until they were displaced in turn by the Jumbo Mark II Class vessels Tacoma and Wenatchee in 1997-1998.
- Demoro, Harre, The Evergreen Fleet – A Pictoral History of Washington State Ferries, Golden West Books, San Marino CA (1971) ISBN 0-87095-037-1
- Kline, Mary S., and Bayless, G.A., Ferryboats – A Legend on Puget Sound, Bayless Books, Seattle, WA (1983) ISBN 0-914515-00-4
- Newell, Gordon R. ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Superior Publishing, Seattle WA (1966)
- Media related to Washington State Ferries at Wikimedia Commons