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ferries

The fast ferry between Bremerton and Seattle, the Rich Passage 1, docks at Pier 50 in Seattle, which is just south of Colman Dock.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bremerton is two months into operating its new fast ferry to Seattle, and now Tacoma is looking into the idea. Tacoma's City Council started discussions this week on the potential benefits of running a foot ferry to-and-from Seattle. City council member Ryan Mello is proposing the idea.

View of the Guemes Island ferry dock from the beach. The Guemes Island ferry is Skagit County's only ferry, with 20 runs a day.
Flickr photo/amanda (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8sZuX2

Diesel-burning ferry boats could be a thing of the past for Skagit County. The county plans to replace its passenger ferry with an all-electric model. It would be the first of its kind built anywhere in the U.S.

There were about 25 passengers on the final trip of the morning from Seattle. The Rich Passage I holds 118 people.
KUOW Photo/ Carolyn Adolph

In a region where traffic congestion is making commutes longer and longer, one commute just got shorter. It now takes half an hour to get from Seattle to Bremerton.

Kitsap Transit’s fast ferry service began Monday morning.

Passengers on Kitsap Transit's Port Orchard -Bremerton ferry. Soon a modern vessel will take on a new route - Bremerton to Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bremerton hopes to be the next bedroom community for Seattle. The mayor is promoting the city, and developers are building places for people to live.

Southeast Alaska is known as the Panhandle:

It's a long, narrow strip of mainland coastline, plus 1,000 islands and the braided waterways that surround them.

In most places, there are no roads connecting the communities there, so Alaskans depend heavily on ferries: the Alaska Marine Highway System.

How a boat named Nap Tyme crashed into a ferry

Dec 6, 2016
A still from a video taken aboard a Washington state ferry as it crashed into Nap Tyme.
YouTube/Amanda Shuffield

How appropriate that the captain of Nap Tyme was sitting on the pot when a Washington state ferry rammed into the side of his boat.

“A convenient place considering how he must have felt at the time of collision,” said Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.

The Chetzemoka was placed in the water for the first time on March 2, 2010 in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND) http://bit.ly/1V2AtiL

When you sink millions of dollars into a brand-new Washington state ferryboat, you hope it'll stay in good working order for years.

Mosquito fleet steamers are seen at Houghton, Wash., in 1945.
Courtesy of MOHAI

Jeannie Yandel speaks to Leonard Garfield, director of the Museum of History and Industry, about a time when Seattleites got around on a "swarm of little steamers" known as the Mosquito Fleet.

The ferry Leschi arrives at the Kirkland dock on Lake Washington in April 1946.
Kirkland Heritage Society, City of Kirkland/Charles Morgan Negative

Marcie Sillman speaks with King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski about his proposal to introduce passenger ferries to carry commuters across Lake Washington.

KUOW Photo/Keva Andersen

KUOW acquisitions producer Keva Andersen spotted some familiar pieces of scrap metal near the parking lot of Salty's on Alki. 

Could it be? Is this pile of detritus a souvenir from the Kalakala, the infamous former Washington state ferry that recently took its final voyage to the junk yard? If so, why is it there?

Update: West Seattle Herald has the answer! 

Flickr Photo/Pipers Creek

Aging vessels are frequently blamed for problems in Washington’s ferry system. But the latest performance report says new ferries are giving the state plenty of grief.

Washington State Ferries missed its goal of keeping vessel out-of-service time to an average of eight weeks a year in 2014, and young ferries were key players.

A picture of the Kalakala ferry from 2001.
Flickr Photo/rbanks (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Knute Berger, columnist for Crosscut and Seattle Magazine, about the final demise of the famed art deco ferry, the Kalakala.

Update at 7:50 pm. Death Toll Rises To 10:

The death toll has climbed to 10, but dozens of passengers are still missing from a Greek ferry that caught fire. Authorities have been unable to determine exactly how many people were on board.

Prosecutors in South Korea are reportedly demanding the death penalty for the captain of a ferry that capsized and sank in April, killing more than 300 people. Lee Joon-seok is accused of homicide for leaving passengers, including many teenagers on a school outing, to fend for themselves.

Prosecutors say Lee failed to perform his duty as captain of the Sewol, according to Yonhap news agency.

Washington state ferry
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with former Washington State Secretary of Transportation, Doug MacDonald, about why the ferry system has trouble replacing boats, finding a permanent assistant secretary and securing funding.

"The conduct of the captain and some crew members is wholly unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, and it was like an act of murder that cannot and should not be tolerated."

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank earlier this week in the Yellow Sea, leaving at least 28 dead and hundreds missing, has been arrested, along with two other crew members, South Korea's Yonhap news agency says.

The 69-year-old captain, Lee Jun-Seok, faces five counts including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, Yonhap says.

This post will be updated as news comes in.

A second day of dangerous efforts to reach any survivors has ended with still no sign of the nearly 300 people — most of them high school students — believed to be trapped aboard a South Korean ferry that has capsized in the Yellow Sea.

This post is being updated as news comes in.

Unsuccessful in their attempts to find the missing in a sunken ferry off the southern coast of South Korea overnight, rescue divers resumed their search at day break Thursday, Jason Strother reports from Seoul.

A day after the boat began to sink, the cause of the accident is unclear and less than half of the passengers who were on board have been rescued, Strother tells NPR's Newscast Desk.

Most of those unaccounted for are high school students who were on a trip to a resort island.

Courtesy of Steven J Pickens

In 1948, at the height of discontent over a Puget Sound transportation controversy, a group of agitated locals, nicknamed the “Vashon vigilantes,” prevented the ferry Illahee from docking.

A local business man, two candidates for governor and a network of traversing boats came to a head over a seemingly simple issue: how much to charge to cross the waterways between cities and islands.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Cherie LaMaine is a ferry walker on the Edmonds-Kingston line: She makes laps around the deck as the boat glides from port to port.

The habit started with her husband when he needed to make frequent trips to Swedish Hospital. “We would still walk, holding hands,” LaMaine said. “He couldn't walk too fast, but it was great.”

Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson

If you live near downtown Seattle, you may have recently heard a long, low horn reverberating through the soupy nighttime air.

It happens every once in a while and has some Seattleites mystified. Where does the sound come from? It is a train? A boat? Last call at a Capitol Hill bar?

The nation's biggest ferry system is aiming to convert some of its fleet from diesel to natural gas propulsion.

Last Friday, a large ferry collided with a sailboat, sinking that much smaller craft.

Washington's most famous ferries are in Puget Sound. But another, inland ferry operated by the state has been quietly shuttling cars across the Columbia River since 1948. And Wednesday, that ferry crossing got a badly needed update.

No new boat ceremony would be complete without breaking a bottle over the bow. But it took a few tries to actually break this bottle.

Flickr Photo/A. Davey

Correction 7/9/13: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that on the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, the peak season, round-trip fare for a car and driver would go up $0.90 to $17.30. That total was a one-way fare. In fact, the round-trip fare would increase $1.80, to $34.60.

If you ride the Washington State Ferries, prepare to pay a bit more. The Washington State Transportation Commission wants to increase fares by about six percent within the next year. The commission says the rate hike is needed to meet revenue targets set by the legislature in the 2013-2015 transportation budget.

Flickr Photo/A.Davey

Washington state lawmakers are considering ending a requirement that ferries be built in state. According to a recent state audit Washington is overpaying for ferries compared to other states. Ross Reynolds talks with ferry maker Brian Mannion about his thoughts on opening up state ferry production to outside competition. 

Flickr Photo/A.Davey

State auditors say that Washington state ferries cost too much money to build. The Chetzemoka ferry for example, which transports passengers from Coupeville to Port Townsend, cost around $36 million more than a similar boat that was built on the east coast. Auditors say it’s due to a state law that requires ferries to be built by Washington companies. Now they’re asking lawmakers to get rid of the law. Ross talks to Clipper Navigation CEO Derrell E. Bryan to get the details.

Flickr/Chris_118

Washington State Ferry system staff cutbacks are leading to some last minute cancelations and that is causing headaches for some ferry commuters.  Yesterday, two ferry sailings were canceled due to crew shortages. Ross Reynolds talks to state ferry system director, David Moseley.