New ferry Suquamish welcomed to the fleet

Weekly ridership expected to exceed 600,000 during mid-August

The Washington State Ferries system has a new boat named for the “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Coast Salish Lushootseed language.

“We have a great sense of pride in the naming of the new ferry after the Suquamish Tribe and the town of Suquamish, home to one of the original mosquito fleet ferry terminals,” said Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. “The ferry will travel the ancestral marine routes of our people. Our elders and children have participated in the hull laying and christening ceremonies and look forward to witnessing the ship’s many years of service on the Salish Sea.” Chairman Forsman is also a member of PSRC’s Economic Development District Board.

The new boat comes at a very welcome time as the ferry system is in high demand, with ridership above 2017 levels for summer weekends. Expectations are that weekly ridership will exceed 600,000 in mid-August, compared to about 400,000 during a winter week.

“Welcoming the Suquamish to our fleet brings us one step closer to providing much-needed relief to our system,” said Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “This new ferry will help modernize our aging fleet and allow us to perform necessary maintenance to keep our ferries reliable and in good working order.”

The Suquamish can hold 1,500 passengers and 144 vehicles. It will debut this fall.

The ferry 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.

PSRC awarded $3.25 million to Washington State Ferries for the purchase of 4 Olympic Class Ferries. The Suquamish is the fourth and final ferry to come aboard from that program.