Mayor Lent joins governor to herald new ferry

Gov. Jay Inslee welded his grandson’s initials on the keel of the new 144-car ferry Samish this past Friday in Seattle. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent also spoke at the ceremony. - Kevan Moore
Gov. Jay Inslee welded his grandson’s initials on the keel of the new 144-car ferry Samish this past Friday in Seattle. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent also spoke at the ceremony.
— image credit: Kevan Moore

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent joined Governor Jay Inslee last week to take part in a keel laying ceremony for the new ferry Samish at Vigor Industrial shipyard in Seattle.

The Samish is the state’s second new 144-car ferry, following the Tokitae (toh-kee-tay).

“We are going to be the recipients of one of these ferries,” Lent said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am, as the mayor, or how excited the citizens and residents who live and work on the Olympic Peninsula are about these ferries. We know what it takes to move our communities across the water. We don’t look at Puget Sound as a division between the I-5 corridor and the peninsula. We look at it as a connection and what we need is the marine highway and these ferries to keep our workers in place.”

Lent noted that some of the 200 Vigor employees working on the new ferries in Seattle are actually Bremerton residents, not to mention the 1,000 to 1,300 other workers from other companies also contributing to the projects. She also noted that many of the 33,000 people that work at the Puget Sound Shipyard and Naval Base Kitsap also utilize the ferries.

She said that she will continue to advocate for two additional 144-car boats to be built by the state.

During the ceremony, Governor Inslee welded “BRI,” his first grandchild Brody Robert Inslee’s initials, on the keel of the Samish because, “These boats are designed and will last at least 60 years and I like to think about my grandson taking his grandson or granddaughter on the Samish for a ride across the sound 60 years from now.”

Prior to making his weld, Inslee joked that, “I can guarantee you it will be the worst welding ever done at this shipyard.”

Inslee noted that 22 million people are going to be enjoying the Samish.

“But, I’ll tell you what I see when I see these boats,” he added. “I see jobs and we’ve gotta make sure we build that third ferry and commit the increasing number of jobs in this industry. To get this done we need a transportation package this session and we’ve gotta find some money to get that done. I know there is a Tooth Fairy, but there is no Ferry Fairy. We need the Legislature, in a bipartisan fashion, to come up with a finance system to keep the maritime industry whole and growing and create jobs.”

Inslee urged the shipyard workers to talk to their legislators to make sure the work continues.

“We’re seeing the fruits of the labor of welders and boilermakers and pipe fitters and machinists who have brought their skills to give us one of the best ships in the world today and a ferry fleet that is absolutely integral to the State of Washington,” Inslee said.

Washington State Ferries has a contract with Vigor Industrial’s US Fab Division for design and construction of up to four 144-car ferries. The agency is moving forward to build new ferries to replace the 1950s-era Evergreen State Class ferries, which are approaching the end of their service lives. Ten of WSF’s 22 auto-passenger ferries are between 40 and 60 years old and must be replaced in the next 20 years. The new 144-car vessel design is based on the Issaquah class, which has proved the most versatile vessel in the WSF fleet and has the most utility throughout the system.

The total budget for the first two ferries is $279.4 million. WSF has a total budget of $279.4 million to build two 144-car ferries. The cost of constructing the first 144-car ferry is $115 million and the total cost of the vessel is $146.9 million. The total contract for construction of the second ferry is $109.4 million and the total cost of the vessel is $132.5 million.

The difference between cost of construction and total cost for each vessel is due to design, owner-furnished equipment, construction management, final outfitting and contingencies.

The lessons learned from construction of the first ferry, minimal engineering design, reduction in contingencies, and economies of scale reduce the cost of the second vessel.

“We are on the way with our Legislature’s help, and Governor Inslee is committed as well, to rebuild WSF so that it will serve our Puget Sound communities and our state highway system for many years to come,” said outgoing Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.


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