Send in your ferry name nominations

The next state ferry should be named the MV Namu, in honor of the killer whale who starred in my 10-year-old summer.
It’s a tribal name, like all but one of the other ferries (Evergreen State). A sister ship is called Tokitae, which to the Coast Salish people meant “nice day, pretty colors” but is also the name of an orca captured at Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. The Tokitae will start running between Whidbey and Mukilteo next month.
The third ferry in the class, which Vigor hasn’t started building, will be assigned to the Bremerton route, so we should name it. It’ll cruise right past Rich Cove, where Namu stayed.
Namu was caught in June 1965 near the First Nations community of Namu, British Columbia. Seattle Marine Aquarium owner Ted Griffin bought him for $8,000 and brought him to Rich Cove, along Beach Drive. The first Sunday, the 22-foot whale attracted 5,000 people. By September, more than 120,000 had visited, according to the Center for Whale Research ( I was one of them.
Four siblings and I, 2 to 10 years old, piled into a baby blue 1964 Galaxie 500 and sat for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic to see the killer whale. There was nowhere to get out and watch. You just stayed in the car, everybody crowding to one side, hoping for a glimpse.
Namu left for Seattle later that summer and within a year died of a bacterial infection.
How’s that for a ferry-naming story? If you’ve got a better name, or story, we want to hear it. The Transportation Commission will be looking for nominations, and the Kitsap Sun is going to help filter out the best from this community. We’ll gather nominations from readers and our staff, narrow the field and put the finalists up for you guys to vote on. Once a winner is chosen, we’ll submit it to the Transportation Commission, which will judge it against other proposals.
There are guidelines. Names should carry statewide significance, represent the state image and culture, and be consistent with the existing fleet. They shouldn’t be commercial or honor individuals, unless the person has been dead at least 20 years, have enduring fame and played a significant role in the region or state. Last time I brought this up, many of you suggested the MV Friedrich, but that’ll have to wait for awhile.
One person — Ivar Haglund — made it into the finals in October 2012, when Tokitae and Samish were chosen. The other candidates were Cowlitz, Muckleshoot and Sammamish. Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd, who was nuts when he worked with us at the Sun years ago, nominated Ivar, the singing fish-and-chips peddler. The other names all had tribal ties.
You can see what all the other ferries are named here: My favorites are Tokitae and Chetzemoka because they’re fun to say. I’m not too keen on Samish. They already had Salish. It’s impossible not to mix them up. I’ve already done that a few times in my stories, and the Samish isn’t even running yet. Or is it the Salish?

8 thoughts on “Send in your ferry name nominations

  1. How about the MV Resolute after the irrepressible 1850 HMS Resolute? She survived amazing odds – rather as our Native Americans have survived.

  2. It’s rigged. Unless it’s a “tribal name” of some sort, it won’t be chosen because it doesn’t fit the ‘guidelines.’ Why pretend otherwise?

  3. How about a class of ferries names after Washington State arts and cultural history? They should have an international reputation and be immediately recognized as part of this region. Consider:

    M/V Nirvana or M/V Pearl Jam (They have stood the test of time, and it would be great for tourism to have a vessel filled with artifacts from the grunge music scene.)

    M/V Pacific Northwest Ballet,

    M/V Woody Guthrie

    M/V (visual arts something? Chihuly Studio?)

    its a short list unfortunately

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