Classic Steel Electric ferries leave Puget Sound waters tonight

Two of the four antiquated Steel Electric ferries are beginning their journey to the scrap heap tonight.

The Nisqually and the Quinault will be towed to Ensenada, Mexico where they will be recycled.

The two ferries were towed from Eagle Harbor to Ellott Bay early Friday to be rigged for ocean towing. They are scheduled to depart from the bay at approximately 7 p.m. and will be towed north through Admiralty Inlet. The ferries will pass Port Townsend several hours later, according to a news release from Washington State Ferries.

The two remaining Steel Electric ferries, the Illahee and the Klickitat, will be towed away sometime in the next couple one to two weeks.

Washington State Ferries removed the four 80-year-old ferries from service in November 2007 due to safety concerns. Since then, they have been moored at Eagle Harbor near Bremerton. The ferry system sold the ferries in June to Eco Planet Recycling for $200,000, who will scrap and recycle the ferries.

Fred Dahl Tug and Barge and Island Tug ad Barge are the two firms hired to tow the Steel Electrics. Work crews from both towing companies have spent the past two weeks prepping the ferries for transport.

The ferries served many routes in Puget Sound and the San Juans over the decades, spending much of their time on the Keystone to Port Townsend route.

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, the ferries were built in 1927 for use on San Francisco Bay. After the Golden Gate and Bay bridges opened, they were sold to Puget Sound Navigation. The state took over the private ferry system in 1951. The boats, known for their brass and

woodwork, could each carry 616 passengers and 59 vehicles.

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