New class of ferry to be named after the Olympics

Washington's new class of 144-car ferries will be named Olympic, after the mountain range that's visible to travelers on state ferries.

Like the Navy, Washington state has a history of naming each class of vessels that it builds. The recently-constructed 64-car ferries – Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick – are part of the Kwa-di Tabil class.

The Olympic-class ferries are currently under construction and are being designed based on the ferry system's Issaquah class, which ferry officials say has proven to be the most versatile vessel in the fleet.

The new Olympic-class ferries are being built to replace the 1950s-era Evergreen State.

The Olympic name was selected by Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond after a contest among state Department of Transportation employees that brought in more than 130 submissions.

“I loved the mountain-range theme,” Hammond said. “Mountains and ferries are both iconic symbols of Washington state, so what better name for this new group of vessels?”

“You can see the Olympic mountains from any ferry route in our system,” added Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “Plus, the Olympic Peninsula is a popular tourist destination – just like our unique marine-highway system.”

A panel of representatives from the governor’s office, ferry advisory committees, ferry crew members and state transportation officials narrowed the choices that came from employee submissions. Moseley forwarded his top three picks to Hammond, who made the final selection.

Names for individual vessels are chosen by the Washington State Transportation Commission, and the commission will have a public submission process to name the Olympic-class vessels.

The state has approved funding for two new ferries. The first Olympic-class ferry is under construction at Vigor Shipyard in Seattle and is scheduled to begin service in early 2014.

Construction on the second ferry is expected to start in December.



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