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64-car Salish joins Washington State Ferries fleet

The newest vessel to be added to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) fleet of ferries was delivered by builder Vigor Shipyards, formally known as Todd Pacific Shipyards today. The 64-car ferry, Salish, will restore two-boat service to the Port Townsend/Coupeville route in July.

“We feel a great sense of satisfaction after having built and delivered this complex vessel,” said Steve Welch, president of Vigor Shipyards. “It’s going to transport millions of passengers for the next 50 years or more. That’s a huge accomplishment.”

The Salish was to be delivered May 5, but Vigor needed a few extra days to finish demonstrations for the U.S. Coast Guard in order to receive the vessel’s “Certificate of Inspection.” Shipyard crews also completed touch-up painting and cleaning over the past week.

The Salish will be towed from Vigor’s Harbor Island location to Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island at the close of business May 12. Early next week, the Salish will be towed to Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, and then will return to Eagle Harbor in late May, where WSDOT crews will add more landing lights, finish outfitting the rescue boats, and decrease gaps in the handrails.

After these modifications, the Salish will be ready for crews to train onboard – first around Puget Sound, and later on the Port Townsend/Coupeville route. If all goes well, the Salish is scheduled to begin regular service on the route in July, joining its sister ship, Chetzemoka, for the busy summer season.

“We’re excited about the Salish and we can hardly wait to get two boats back in service for the Coupeville and Port Townsend communities,” said Assistant Secretary David Moseley.

For more information about the new ferries, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Ferries/64CarFerries.

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