Coupeville wants to name second ferry

With the name for the first Keystone-to-Port Townsend ferry already decided, the naming of the second one could be more of an ordeal.

Coupeville organizations are working with a nearby Indian tribe to come up with a name to submit to the Washington State Transportation Commission to consider for the second ferry that could be used across Admiralty Inlet during the summers.

“We all feel it’s a measure of respect for the local tribes,” said Rick Castellano, executive director for the Island County Historical Society. The museum, the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce and the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association are working with the Swinomish tribe to come up with some possible names for the second ferry. The Swinomish tribe, based near Anacortes, represents the Lower Skagit Tribe, which Castellano said historically had members living on Whidbey Island.

Washington State Ferries has traditionally used Native American words to name its vessels.

The Washington State Transportation Commission last week approved naming the first ferry for the route the “Chetzemoka.” That ferry, which is being built at Todd Shipyards in Seattle and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, is set to restore permanent service to the Keystone route starting in the summer of 2010. Currently, the route is being serviced by a vessel owned by Pierce County.

Chetzemoka was a chief of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe on the Olympic Peninsula who lived in the 1800s. His name was submitted to the commission by officials from Port Townsend earlier in October.

Chetzemoka was a name used previously on a ferry that sailed on the route until the 1970s. Castellano, a Port Townsend native, remembers sailing on the Chetzemoka and the smaller ferry, the Defiance, across Admiralty Inlet.

Reema Griffith, executive director for the Washington State Transportation Commission, said naming the first ferry the Chetzemoka was suitable because it would be solely serving the Port Townsend-to-Keystone route.

The naming of the second one will be an entirely different process. In fact, commission officials are figuring out the methodology.

“We’ve yet to decide how to name ferries,” Griffith said.

In addition to the process question, it still needs to be decided whether to sell the naming rights for the vessels to generate revenue. Griffith said a report touching upon that issue will be given to the Legislature in January.

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