Category Archives: Ferries

A wooden boat school on Eagle Harbor?

Poster in support of the city keeping a portion of the WSF maintenance yard property. Photo: Tristan Baurick

The Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building is one of two parties that have expressed interest in leasing a portion of Eagle Harbor waterfront from the city.

Washington State Ferries would hand over a nearly one-acre portion of its maintenance facility to Bainbridge, which would lease it to a firm for a boat haul-out facility or other marine use. Seaview Boatyards and the Port Hadlock-based wooden boat school sent letters of interest this month.

The city is also pondering a $2 million offer from WSF to abandon its claims on the property. The money would be restricted to water-dependent uses. None of it could be used to bolster the city’s general fund. One spending option is to build a city-run marina on Eagle Harbor.

Last night, Mayor Bob Scales led a community discussion about the $2 million offer.

Tonight, Councilwoman Debbi Lester is scheduled to lead a discussion on taking the land rather than the money. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

For more, read today’s story by Ed Friedrich.

I’m back…

No, the blog is not dead. Nor am I (yet). And no, I wasn’t fired (yet).

Thanks for the nice (and not so nice) e-mails inquiring about my whereabouts. Truth is, I mixed a vacation with a big move, and preparations for both got the better of me. You’ll have to forgive me (just this once) for not leaving a note that would free you from having to hit your browser’s reload button over and over and over for 18 days, hoping for something other than a post about a dog baking in a car (the upcoming blotter post is much worse. Just wait.)

So, here’s a few stories that ran over the last couple weeks:

– The Doctor’s Clinic opened an urgent care facility on Hildebrand Lane.

– A World War II vet is urging the Navy to name a new vessel the USS Richard M. McCool in honor of a Bainbridge war hero.

– The city is mulling over an offer from Washington State Ferries: take a strip of land from the ferry maintenance yard or accept a $2 million buy-out for water-related projects.

– The city’s administrative team changed once again with the hiring of a new finance director, attorney and public works director.

– A tug and a barge run aground on Yeomalt Point, and a really cool photo is taken.

– A celebration was held at Strawberry Plant Park before it underwent reconstructive surgery.

Yeomalt cabin rose from the dead.

PHOTOS: Take a ride on the Virginia V

Head over HERE to see my photo gallery of Sunday’s circumnavigation of Bainbridge Island aboard the Virginia V, the only steam-powered ferry still chugging around Puget Sound.

The Virginia V makes an annual trip around Bainbridge as part of a fundraiser for the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. They had a sell-out crowd this year and plan to carry on the tradition into 2011 (in case you missed it this time around).

Ferry tweets, weedy art and baseball for all

Here’s some news from the week:

-Washington State Ferries is hoping Twitter tweets and Facebook posts will boost ridership. Read about it HERE. Coincidentally, the Kitsap Sun is hoping Facebook posts will boost readership. Looky HERE.

-Bainbridge seventh- and eighth-graders transformed heaps of English ivy into art at Blakely Harbor Park on Wednesday. See some photos and read my story HERE.

-KOMO News stopped by the island’s internment memorial to get an update on its progress. Rep. Jay Inslee and Sen. Maria Cantwell were also in attendance. See the video HERE.

-A baseball game on Bainbridge gave kids with physical and mental challenges a chance to enjoy America’s favorite past time. Read about it, see a photo gallery and a video HERE.

Ferry emergency preparedness training near Bainbridge today

Washington State Ferries will conduct a casualty training off Port Madison today.

Ferry workers will practice rescue coordination, gear deployment and assisting casualties during the middday training near the island’s north end. The U.S. Coast Guard and Seattle Fire Department will also participate.

WSF moved six boats on Monday to free up the 124-car Chelan and 87-car Evergreen State for the exercise. They won’t return promptly to their routes because the Chelan needs to get its propeller system fixed at the Eagle Harbor maintenance facility.

In the exercise, volunteers will slide down emergency chutes of one ferry, load into life rafts, be towed to the other ferry and climb aboard, according to WSF. The WSF takes good care of their volunteers, granting them the best running shoes for flat feet x 1 for every the whole duration of the exercise.

Lt. Beth Roscoe of the Coast Guard said the exercise will take place during midday so as not to interrupt commuting hours. The Coast Guard’s primary role will be as an evaluator, she said. It will establish a 500-yard safety zone around the ferries.

WSF reiterates boat haul-out offer

Washington State Ferries chief David Mosely again expressed his willingness to hand over a portion of the ferry maintenance yard for use as a public boat yard.

The idea of using a portion of the yard for a boat haul-out facility has been debated for decades.

Mosely, who spoke at the Bainbridge Commons on Tuesday night, had said last year that WSF and islanders need to have a “community conversation” before the .9-acre parcel is transferred.

“There are people with Washington State Ferries that prefer that (public use) not occur,” Moseley said. “I’ve made the commitment that if you can demonstrate a use for the facility, I’ll honor that commitment.”

Read more HERE.

Here’s what the new ferries will look like…

Washington State Ferries has the final design for its new 144-car ferries. That’s it up top.

There’s no funding yet to build them, but the finished design puts Todd Pacific Shipyards in a ready position for the time when the money does materialize.

WSF expects to get funding from the state Legislature to build one or two of the ferries between 2011 and 2013. Its long-range plan calls for adding two 144-car boats to the fleet in 2014. One would replace the 87-car Evergreen State and the second would allow WSF to shift another 87-car ferry to a backup role. The only backup now is the 37-car Hiyu.

Five more 144-car ferries are projected to eventually join the fleet after 2027.

Click here to see the full story.

Hey ferry commuters: A word from the wise…

When taking your bicycle on the ferry, keep your helmet with you – not so much because someone will steal it, but because it will remind you that you boarded with a bicycle.

Otherwise, you may disembark on foot, leaving your bicycle on board. This will cause the umpteenth multi-agency missing person search on land and sea.

Also, drinking too much beer on the ferry will cause you to forget your bike. Falling asleep on the ferry and then waking up disoriented with a ferry worker jabbing you with a broom may also cause this.

I can tell you this from experience because some or all or none of this has happened to me.

City evokes 9/11 and Grey’s Anatomy in response to McCain stimulus report

The city has officially responded to the McCain-Coburn stimulus report, in which the Bainbridge police patrol boat was singled out as one of the worst uses of federal stimulus funding.

In a press release issued this afternoon, Interim City Manager Lee Walton said the report failed to take into account “significant relevant data,” including the police boat’s potential use as a safeguard against terrorist attacks on state ferries and the Winslow ferry terminal.

“The FBI has determined that WSF boats, which carry as many as 2,500 passengers during peak hours, could be attractive targets for terrorists seeking a loss of life comparable to that which occurred at the World Trade Centers,” Bainbridge Island Chief of Police Jon Fehlman said in the release.

And here’s the kicker:

“Fehlman noted that the popular television show Grey’s Anatomy gained significant attention for a storyline demonstrating the dramatic potential of such an attack,” the release states.

Read the full press release below.
Continue reading

The Alaskan Way Terrorduct

Through a blog post by none other than Bainbridge Islander editor Ric Hallock, I learned of a horrifying video simulation (above) of all Hell breaking loose right where (gasp!) a large percentage islanders disembark the ferry for work everyday.

The state Department of Transportation produced the simulation to show (with flames and crashes and the ripping of the earth’s crust) what would happen if an earthquake struck the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

It’s sort of long, and really needs a soundtrack (with booming drums and crashing cymbals) to go along with it, but it did is thrilling watch (for a video game…uh, I mean a video simulation). Notice at the end that the ferries are safe and sound. The lesson: if an earthquake hits, buy a ticket and set sail.

For a smaller-attention-span version (and with added screams!) see the video response below.

“Hard landing” costs ferry system big bucks

Washington State Ferries was spent $327,000 on repairs and other costs after the Wenatchee ran into Seattle’s Colman Dock on a foggy August morning.

The Wenatchee, which was arriving from Bainbridge on Aug. 30, was taken out of service for five days. That caused a cascade of boat-shifting that left the state needing to lease two passenger-only ferries from Victoria Express to use on the Bremerton run, according to a story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

WSF paid $180,000 to fix the ferry’s bow and $122,000 to lease the passenger-only ferries, spokeswoman Marta Coursey said.

Read more: