Category Archives: Name that ferry

Bremerton ferry naming decision coming in November

We’ll know come Nov. 19 whether a new Bremerton ferry is called Illahee, the name you chose.
That’s the day the Washington State Transportation Commission is scheduled to vote on a recommendation from its ferry committee. The schedule was announced Wednesday. A press release soliciting names is forthcoming. We already have ours.
Over the past couple months, you sent in dozens of names. We whittled them to the top three. In final voting, Illahee (179) more than doubled Suquamish (87) and Radulescu (84), the state trooper shot to death during a traffic stop near Gorst in 2012.
Illahee means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives” in the Chinook language. It’s a pretty community and former Mosquito Fleet stop just north of Bremerton. A nearby state park also bears the name.
The new Olympic-class ferry wouldn’t be the first to be named Illahee. One served the state for 59 years before being retired in 2007 because of rust. It was scrapped in 2009.
Getting back to the schedule, name packets are due to the “Transportation Commission by Sept. 12. The ferry committee will check that they comply with guidelines and move them to Washington State Ferries and the Ferry Advisory Committee Executive Council for review. The two get a month to gather opinions before chiming in.
“The key thing is that there is public support for the name and they’ve actually gone out and talked to people about it,” Reema Griffith, commission executive director, said of the name sponsors.
The 12,000 members of the commission’s Ferry Riders Opinion Group will be able to participate in a poll.
The Transportation Commission ferry committee will digest all the input the week of Nov. 10 and present its recommendation to the full body Nov. 19.
Seven names were proposed for two ferries in 2012. The commission chose Tokitae and Samish. The remaining five could be back in the running this year. They are Ivar Haglund, Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot and Sammamish.
All that’s left for us is to solicit backing from local, regional and state bodies and officials. I’d like to include support from you, even if it’s only a sentence. It’d be cool to send in a hundred sentences from those who actually selected the name.
It’s been a couple years since the last names were chosen and I never wondered why. While the state was determining how to pay for the third ferry, another boat jumped in front of it at Vigor shipyards, WSF interim director George Capacci told the commission Wednesday.
“The challenge is we didn’t build three boats,” he said. “We built one and we built one and we built one. The shipyard took another project between the second and third vessels.”
Capacci said the Tokitae’s introduction to service June 30 was seamless, the smoothest he’s been involved with in 20 years. Commissioners wanted to know about vehicles scraping going to the upper car deck.
“I can count them on one hand of the thousands of vehicles we’ve carried over the last two weeks,” he said. “It is not operationally limiting, but with the electron microscope under which we operate constantly, it has drawn some attention.”
Money is coming in fine for the new 144-car ferries. A 25-cent capital surcharge was added to each ticket to pay for bonds to build the first two boats. The debt payment is about $5 million per biennium while the surcharge is generating about $7.8 million, WSF finance director Jean Baker told the commission. The Legislature passed some fee increases last session to help pay for the third boat.
Fare revenue in general has been up. During the 2011-13 biennium, it was $1.2 million over projections. This biennium is looking to be $1.5 million more.

Time to narrow down new ferry names

Name me.

You sent in dozens of names for a new Bremerton ferry.

It’s time to start narrowing them down.

If you’re just joining us, we figured who better to name the boat than the people it serves, and decided to coordinate a community nomination. We’re ahead of schedule. Vigor hasn’t even started building the 144-car boat yet, and it’ll take a couple of years after that before it hits the water.

The ferry’s two sisters, Tokitae and Samish, were named in November 2012. Tokitae is supposed to begin service June 15 on the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Samish will follow in early 2015 in the San Juan Islands. So there’s a lot of lead time.

Washington State Ferries hasn’t told the state Transportation Commission, which is in charge of naming, when it’ll need one. The commission requires three or four months to conduct the selection process, according to Reema Griffith, its executive director.

Believe it or not, we’ll need some strategy to cut down the list. All but one of the current 22 ferries have tribal names. The Transportation Commission’s guidelines state that it values consistency with existing names. To have any shot to get our nomination selected, do we need to stick with Indian words or can we diverge?

Here are the existing names: Cathlamet, Chelan, Chetzemoka, Elwha, Hiyu, Hyak, Issaquah, Kaleetan, Kennewick, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klahowya, Puyallup, Salish, Sealth, Spokane, Tacoma, Tillikum, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima. Only Evergreen State, which will be retired this summer, has a non-tribal name.

We could play it safe by advancing another Indian name. Ideally, it would have ties to Kitsap since it’ll be based here. There’s nothing that says the new boat can’t leave Bremerton, however. The Chetzemoka, named for a Port Townsend-area chief and meant for the Port Townsend-Coupeville route, now sails off the south end of Vashon Island. They move around.

A couple of existing names, you probably noticed, already have Kitsap ties, like Kitsap. It means “brave” or “war chief” to the Suquamish Tribe. Sealth, or Chief Seattle, was chief of the tribe. There’s no ferry named Suquamish, though, or S’Klallam, our other tribe. Another suggestion sent in was Princess Angeline, Chief Seattle’s eldest daughter. A Mosquito Fleet boat was named for her, and the name made the Final Four for a new Kitsap Transit passenger ferry. It would be strange to have a big Princess Angeline and little Princess Angeline docking in Bremerton at the same time.

I like Enetai and Illahee, Indian words and place names that have been ferry names in the past. Enetai means “across,” “opposite” or “on the other side.” Illahee is “land,” “country” or “place where one lives.” Both are communities just north of Bremerton.

Chico also was suggested. The community between Bremerton and Silverdale was named for a chief who died in 1909 at the age of 105, according to a place name book. That was old in those days, and even now, for that matter.

Another one I like, because it’s a cool word and to mess with the tourists, is Kalaloch. It’s Quinault for “good place to land.”

Guidelines say names of  people should be avoided but will be considered if the person has been dead at least 10 years. They should have enduring fame or have played a significant historical role. How about a person who is an Indian?

Nisqually tribal member Billy Frank Jr., a well-known environmental leader and treaty rights activist, died May 5.

There are three other people you submitted — Tony Radulescu, a state trooper who was shot and killed in 2012 while making a traffic stop on Highway 16 near Gorst; Dennis Allred, a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed while on duty on Illahee Road; and Ivar Haglund, a Seattle folk singer and the founder of Ivar’s seafood chain.

Any person’s name is going to be a risk, according to the guidelines. And how do you choose between Radulescu and Allred? Haglund was almost selected the last time around, but there isn’t a local connection, and I don’t know if it was because people were being goofy or really wanted a ferry named Ivar.

Griffith of the Transportation Commission said Friday that the policy is not in stone, it’s just advisory. Ivar probably would’ve been chosen but the commission was concerned about promoting a business.

“We don’t want people to think (tribal names) all the commissioners would ever consider,” she said. “That seems to be the kind of names that come forward from organizations.”

So there are 10 nominations from our readers: Suquamish, Angeline, Enetai, Illahee, Chico, S’Klallam, Kalaloch, Radulescu, Allred and Haglund. If you feel you had a great one that I cut, make a pitch for it, or for something new. I’m still looking for something that I see and immediately know, “That’s the one.” I’ll finalize the list and put it out for vote in a couple of weeks.

Check out first batch of ferry name suggestions

The first batch of potential names for Washington State Ferries’ third 144-car vessel arrived over the weekend.
The boat, which is funded but not yet under construction, is expected to be assigned to the Bremerton route, so we wanted to get local folks involved in the naming. The Transportation Commission is charged with naming ferries, but hasn’t asked the public for proposals yet.
The 40 nominations that came in were about half serious and half silly. None knocked my socks off, but it’s not all about me. You’ll ultimately be the judges.
All but one of the current ferries’ names have tribal connections. It’s not mandatory, but “consideration will be given to consistency with existing fleet names,” according to the Transportation Commission. Several proposals kept to that theme.

Palouse (a region in southeast Washington, possibly named for the Palus tribe)
Suquamish (local tribe and community)
Angeline (Princess Angeline was eldest daughter of Chief Seattle; a Mosquito Fleet boat took the name)
Nez Perce (Columbia River Plateau tribe)
Enetai (Means “across, on the other side.” Was a ferry on the Bremerton route from 1941 to 1967; Community between Manette and Illahee State Park that overlooks ferry route.)
Illahee (Indian word for earth or country. Community and state park between Silverdale and Bremerton. Puget Sound ferry from 1940 to 2007.

Manchester (South Kitsap waterfront community named after Manchester, England)
Blake Island (State park east of the Kitsap mainland once used as a camping ground by the Suquamish tribe).
Sidney (The original name of the city of Port Orchard, after the father of the man who platted it; also, the British Columbia town to which a WSF ferry sails.
Alpental (a German word for alpine valley)

The guidelines say names of people should be avoided, but will be considered if the person has been dead for at least 20 years and has enduring fame or played a significant historical role. Those parameters would eliminate two of the three below, though I like the thought.
Tony Radulescu (State Trooper who was shot and killed while on duty near Gorst on Feb. 23, 2012.)
Billy Frank Jr. (Nisqually tribe member known for his grassroots campaign for fishing rights who died on May 5.)
Ivar Haglund (Opened the first aquarium in Seattle and built a fish house empire. Died in 1985.)

Several suggestions had a Seahawk theme, like Seahawks, Seahawk!, Sea Hawk (twice), 12 and Russell Wilson.

One suggested Resolute after the 1850s British ship that got stuck in arctic ice.

From this bunch, I think my favorites are Enetai and Trooper Radulescu. I would keep my “Namu” proposal in the running.

I’d like to mention some of the snide ones, but most aren’t that funny. Your typical stuff. Ko-min-at-cha isn’t bad.

We have plenty of time, so keep those suggestions coming.

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?