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Ferries - Olympic Class (144-Car) Ferries


September 2015

  • On July 15, Gov. Inslee approved the Legislature’s $16 billion transportation package, which includes $122 million to build a fourth Olympic Class ferry.
  • Work on the Chimacum, our third Olympic Class ferry began in the fall of 2014.
  • The state's second ferry, Samish, officially joined the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route on June 14, 2015; View photos of the Samish Open House and Christening event held on May 20, 2015.
  • View a time-lapse video of the Tokitae under construction.

WSF is building new Olympic Class ferries to replace some of the fleet’s oldest vessels. Each new ferry carries 144 vehicles. The Olympic Class design is based on the Issaquah class, the most versatile vessel in our fleet. Two of four are in service, the third will be complete in 2017 and the fourth is scheduled for completion in 2018.

The first vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, was put into service on the Anacortes/San Juans Island route in June 2015. Chimacum, the third ferry, will replace one of the older vessels on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017. The vessels are being built by Vigor Industrial in Washington State.

Why is WSDOT building new Olympic class 144-car ferries?
WSF is building new vessels to replace our 1950s-era Evergreen State Class ferries. Nine of 24 vessels in our fleet are between 40 and 60 years old. These older ferries are approaching the end of their service lives and must be replaced with newer ones in the coming years.

The End Result
Building new ferries helps improve the safety and efficiency of our fleet. New vessels also allow us to move older vessels into standby mode. Calling up a standby vessel helps us maintain service and keep people moving across Puget Sound.

Project Benefits
Benefits from the new ferries will cascade throughout the system as older vessels are replaced. Building new ferries provides the opportunity to:

  • Improve safety with state-of-the-art emergency evacuation and fire suppression systems.
  • Improved access for everyone with two accessible elevators and wider, less steep stairwells.
  • Wider car deck lanes that make it easier for crew to load and unload vehicles. Wider lanes also provide more room for passengers to access their vehicles.
  • Increased passenger comfort with better heating and ventilation, more internal seating and flexible seating configurations.
  • Reduced environmental impact cleaner burning engines, low-emissions fuels, reduced risk of fuel spills, a hull design that reduces wake, and quieter machinery.
  • Reduce operating costs with better fuel efficiency.

What is the project timeline?

  • December 2007 – WSF awarded design-build contract.
  • December 2008 - Todd and Martinac submitted technical proposal to WSF.
  • January 2010 - WSF and Todd signed agreement to begin detailed design drawings. (This agreement is part of the December 2007 contract.)
  • Spring 2011 - Legislature funded construction of one 144-car ferry.
  • June 2011 - Detailed design for production drawings complete.
  • November 2011 - Price and schedule negotiations complete.
  • Early 2012 - Construction began on first ferry.
  • Spring 2012 - Legislature funded construction of a second 144-car ferry.
  • June 2012 - WSDOT named new 144-car ferry class: Olympic.
  • November 2012 - Washington State Transportation Commission named first two Olympic Class ferries Tokitae and Samish. Tokitae means "Nice day, pretty colors" in Coast Salish dialect. Samish is a tribal word meaning "giving people."
  • December 2012 - Construction began on second Olympic Class ferry, Samish.
  • March 29, 2012 - Keel laying/first weld for Tokitae.
  • March 8, 2013 - Keel laying/first weld for Samish.
  • Spring 2014 - Legislative session, authorizes funding for third Olympic Class ferry.
  • June 30, 2014 - Tokitae in service on the Mukilteo/Clinton route.
  • November 2014 - Washington State Transportation Commission selects Chimacum as the name of the third Olympic Class ferry.
  • December 9, 2014 - Keel laying/first weld for Chimacum
  • March 2015 - WSF takes delivery of Samish.
  • June 2015 - Samish in service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route.
  • Early 2017 - Chimacum scheduled for completion.
  • Fall 2018 - WSF takes delivery of fourth ferry.

Financial Information

Total budget of $515.5 million to build four Olympic Class, 144-car ferries.

Tokitae, the first Olympic Class ferry:
The total cost of the vessel is $144 million.

Samish, the second Olympic Class ferry:
The total cost of the vessel is approximately $126.45 million. 

Chimacum, the third Olympic Class ferry:
The total budget to build vessel is $123 million.
The fourth Olympic Class ferry:
The total budget to build vessel is $122 million.


How can I get more information?
Brian Mannion
WSF Communications

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