The brand new, 144-car Samish is set to officially take its place amid Washington state’s ferry system in June on regular runs out of Anacortes.
On Friday, Washington State Ferries accepted the Samish from builder/contractor Vigor Industrial. Following two months of sea trials and crew training, the new ferry will begin service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route Sunday, June 14, just in time for the start of the summer sailing season.
“I’m delighted to take delivery of the Samish,” said Ferries Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith. “More than 23 million passengers rely on our ferry system every year. Adding another Olympic Class vessel represents the state’s continued commitment to replace older vessels and plan for the future.”
The public is invited to help welcome the new ferry as First Lady Trudi Inslee christens the vessel at an open house on Wednesday, May 20, at the Anacortes ferry terminal.
Along with more space for tall vehicles, the $126 million Samish offers an ADA-compliant, car-deck restroom; flexible seating configurations; improved heating and ventilation; and wider stairwells and passageways.
“It’s been an honor for Vigor to partner with Washington State Ferries on this vessel, and the nine other ferries we’ve built to serve the people of Washington,” said Bryan Nichols, director of sales at Vigor Fab. “The Samish represents the very best in state-of-the-art ferry design and has helped strengthen the maritime community by supporting over 500 jobs throughout the Puget Sound.”
The new ferry’s name comes from a tribal word meaning, “giving people.” It is the second of three funded, Olympic Class vessels to replace the aging, midcentury-era Evergreen State Class vessels.