Passenger boat to serve Clinton during dock repair

"Whidbey Islanders will be riding the aptly-named St. Nicholas between Mukilteo and Clinton this winter.The 149-seat vessel will provide passenger-only ferry service while the Mukilteo ferry dock is partially closed for construction beginning Nov. 27 and ending in February. During midday hours, the regular car ferries will operate between Clinton and Edmonds. The only way to Mukilteo will be on the St. Nicholas.The St. Nicholas is owned by Everett-based Mosquito Fleet Enterprises, and was chosen by Washington State Ferries from among six competitors.Tim McGuigan, contract and legal services manager for State Ferries, said the Mosquito Fleet boat was the winner.State Ferries will pay Mosquito Fleet $49,000 per month for the use of the St. Nicholas, and it will be manned and operated by State Ferries employees. One Mosquito Fleet employee will be on board as an observer.The St. Nicholas will take foot passengers between the Port of South Whidbey's dock in Clinton to the Port of Everett's dock in Mukilteo. Both docks are located adjacent to the ferry terminals. Special commuter parking arrangements have been made with Boeing, with shuttle buses taking boat passengers to a Boeing parking lot each time a boat comes in.McGuigan said each boat seeking the contract was assessed on a point basis, with up to 250 points given for the best financial proposal and up to 250 points for the boat with the best sea trials and technical data.Mosquito Fleet's St. Nicholas was the overall point winner with 347. Next were the Fair Weather Express, owned by Puget Sound Express, with 286 points; the San Juan Express, owned by Clipper Navigation, with 279 points; the Captain Cook VII, owned by Whidbey Cruises, with 255 points; the Spirit of Adventure, owned by Glacier Bay Cruises, with 241 points; and the Good Time, owned by Argosy Cruises, also with 241 points.The monthly proposed fee ranged from a low of $20,00 for the San Juan Express to a high of $66,805 for the Spirit of Adventure.The St. Nicholas was built in 1999 by Allen Marine of Sitka, Alaska. It's a catamaran design propelled by four water jets.McGuigan said the St. Nicholas can be expected in Clinton around Nov. 20 to begin getting ready for the first day of service on Nov. 27. "

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