In honor of the Seattle
Seahawks reaching the Super Bowl again, I’m changing my name to Ed
Friedhawk for this blog post. Everybody’s doing it, including
Washington State Ferries. They announced that Gov. Jay Inslee
directed them to honor the team by renaming the ferries after
Seahawks players on Sunday.
The M/V Tacoma will become the M/V Jermaine Kearse, for example.
That makes sense. Kearse is from Tacoma’s Lakes High. I hope it
doesn’t jinx him, though. The Tacoma went dead in the water off of
Bainbridge Island in July after an electrical explosion and is
still on injured reserve.
Outside of the Tacoma, there was “no rhyme or reason” to the
renaming of the other boats. It’s just coincidence that the
Bainbridge route, which conspiracy theorists claim always gets the
best of everything, wound up with Marshawn Lynch (Puyallup) and
Russell Wilson (Wenatchee).
Conversely, Bremerton got Will Tukuafu (Cathlamet). Will Whoafu?
He’s actually pretty cool. The huge fullback — 6-foot-4, 280 pounds
— blasts open holes on Lynch’s runs. If he misses a block, Beast
Mode runs them over anyway.
Bremerton’s other boat, the Kaleetan, will be the “Angry” Doug
Baldwin. The city and receiver both have huge chips on their
Kingston gets defensive superstars Richard Sherman (Spokane) and
Earl Thomas (Walla Walla). Running the Southworth route will be
cornerback Byron Maxwell (Evergreen State), offensive tackle
Russell Okung (Issaquah) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams
Here’s the rest of the lineup (M/V means motor vessel, by the
M/V Klahowya: “M/V Bruce Irvin”
M/V Chelan: “M/V Michael Bennett”
M/V Chetzemoka: “M/V J.R. Sweezy”
M/V Salish: “M/V Max Unger”
M/V Elwha: “M/V Justin Britt”
M/V Sealth: “M/V Kam Chancellor”
M/V Samish “M/V Jon Ryan”
M/V Hiyu: “M/V K.J. Wright”
M/V Hyak: “M/V Steven Hauschka
M/V Tokitae: “M/V Cliff Avril”
M/V Kennewick: “M/V James Carpenter”
M/V Kitsap: “M/V Bobby Wagner”
M/V Kittitas: “M/V Tony McDaniel”
M/V Yakima: “M/V Luke Willson”
Washington State Ferries ridership has bottomed out and is
headed back up.
The agency on Friday released numbers that showed the largest rider
jump — 2.7 percent — in at least 14 years. That’s when it lost
license tab revenues, and started jacking up ticket prices and
The 2.7 percent calculates to 650,000 riders, enough to fill 260 of
its largest ferries.
Total 2014 ridership was 23,193,660, nowhere near the 1999 peak of
26.8 million but moving in that direction. Its the second straight
gain (1.5 percent last year) after 13 years of declines. Drivers
were up 1.3 percent and passengers 3.9 percent.
Bremerton led the way with a whopping 10 percent gain. Passengers
were up 12.6 percent and vehicles 3.2 percent.
Bainbridge rose just half a percent, but remained the busiest route
at 6.3 million riders. Edmonds-Kingston and Mukilteo-Clinton
continued their annual duel for second. Kingston, boosted by a 3.6
percent gain, edged Mukilteo in 2014, 4 million to 3.9
million. Traffic picked up less than 1 percent at
Mukilteo, however, led the system with 2,151,070 vehicles, followed
by Kingston at 2,098,533 and Bainbridge with 1,953,466.
Two-thirds of Bainbridge and Bremerton riders were passengers.
The Fauntleroy-Vashon Island-Southworth route showed little change,
at 0.3 percent.
Judging from the comments on my Seahawks fast ferry story, some
facts are in order.
The low-wake ferry Rich Passage 1 is owned by Kitsap Transit.
Washington State Ferries has nothing to do with it.
A half-hour trip to the NFC championship game would largely be
promotional, although it could slightly reduce crowds on the car
ferries. It can carry just 118 people. The RP1 needs to be operated
periodically, anyway, to keep it in good running order. Bremerton
Mayor Patty Lent thinks it’d be great to kill two birds with one
stone. She’s not shy about fast ferries. Like many others, Lent
thinks they’d be great economically for the city and surrounding
area. Many also disagree. With a proposition to run fast ferries
full time possibly going on the ballot in the next year or two, she
wants to showcase them as much as possible.
Nobody would make a killing on the Seahawks trip. Lent and Kitsap
Transit are just trying to cover expenses, primarily crew and fuel,
as the feds require. The $25 round-trip ticket wouldn’t bring in
half of the $7,000 needed. That’s why Lent’s looking for sponsor
organizations. I’d think they’d see it as advertising. Neither the
city nor Kitsap Transit would be footing any of the bill.
Nobody is being forced to ride the boat. Car ferries will be
available for about $8 for the round trip.
If voters did eventually approve the service, tickets of $25
would be too high to be competitive with the state. Kitsap
Transit is thinking more in the $12-13 range. That would cover 25
to 30 percent of operating costs, so a tax increase would be
If you’re headed to Seattle Saturday for the big Seahawks game
or any other reason, it might help to know which boat you’re
catching. At Bainbridge, it doesn’t really matter. Both the
Puyallup and Wenatchee carry 202 cars and 2,500 people. There are
different-sized boats running in Bremerton, however — the 124-car,
1,200-passenger Cathlamet and 144-car, 2,000-passenger
Kaleetan is scheduled to depart Bremerton at 11:10 a.m. and 1:45
p.m. Cathlamet is scheduled to depart Bremerton at 12:20 p.m. and 3
p.m. The game starts at 5:15 p.m. Washington State Ferries will add
an unscheduled 11:30 p.m. sailing to Bremerton.
Passengers are advised to beat the rush by taking an earlier
sailing and purchasing return-trip tickets online in advance.
The fast ferry Rich Passage 1 could also be an option, but they
departure times and ticket-buying plan haven’t been determined yet.
At last look, there would be one trip to Seattle and one back, each
for $2, in the 118-seat Rich Passage 1. It can make the crossing in
about a half hour. I should know more later this afternoon.
Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes, in a bit of a coup, lost his
seat on the Kitsap Transit board last month to city councilman Rob
Putaansuu. Putaansuu had been serving the board as an at-large
member. He said the board owes it to the public to ask whether they
want cross-Sound ferry service because of all of the time and money
invested in building the low-wake Rich Passage 1.
Matthes isn’t enamored with the boat. Not being a board
member didn’t prevent him from saying so. During the public comment
portion of Tuesday’s meeting, he read a critical letter he’d
written. He said the list of mechanical problems grows with nearly
every sailing and there are safety issues. If the foil or strut had
a breakdown at high speed, the ferry could dig into the water and
splinter like hydroplane at Seafair.
“Passengers and crew would be thrown around the cabin like rag
dolls, causing injuries and loss of life,” he wrote.
Here’s a line to the complete letter:
2015-01-06 Citizen Comment- Matthes
Time has run out on the Art Deco ferry Kalakala, which wobbled
between Bremerton and Seattle for 35 years. Tacoma industrialist
Karl Anderson, who wound up with the Silver Slug through
foreclosure in 2012 and has been barely keeping the rotting,
rusting vessel afloat, plans to scrap it. He’ll have it towed to a
nearby graving yard on Jan. 22, according to a
story in The News Tribune.
Anderson was just being a nice guy when he let dreamer Steve
Rodrigues moor the Kalakala on his company’s property on Hylebos
Waterway. It had already been booted from Seattle’s Pier 66, Lake
Union and Neah Bay while awaiting restoration.
Rodrigues wasn’t good about paying the cheap moorage or maintaining
the boat, so two years ago Anderson foreclosed on it. He didn’t
want the Kalakala, but hoped to prevent it from sinking and fouling
the bay. He’s spent $500,000 keeping it safe and secure, and will
put out at least that much on demolition.
It’s hard to believe what happened to the cool ship. Washington
State Ferries sold it in 1967 to an outfit that towed it to Dutch
Harbor, Alaska, and turned it into a crab processing operation. In
1971, it was sold again and towed to Kodiak for use as a fish
cannery. It was abandoned when the operation failed.
It just sat there until a Seattle artist had it towed home to
Seattle in 1998. It was in awful shape and nobody ever succeeded in
raising the funds to restore it, though there was much talk from
several cities, including Bremerton.
I was 12 when the Kalakala stopped ferrying people. I don’t
remember riding on it, but my mom and dad and a whole lot of you