Posted by: arbeam | April 3, 2013

Kingston Ferry Tours

Ferry Tour Mar 30You know how we always take for granted that the ferry will always be there when we are ready to cross the Sound? Well, several Navy League folks got to see what makes that happen on March 23 and several others again on March 30.

We gathered at the Kingston on ramp area and were greeted by Capt Alec Johnson. He took us up to the pilot house where we also met Capt Tim Koivu, who had the boat pushing into the dock while it was loading.

After the boat left the dock, we walked down to the deck where the crew sleeps at times. Several of the people are from Eastern Washington, Montana or Oregon & stay on the boat for a week at a time. They have a kitchenette & sleeping berths. They go ashore in Kingston on their time off to go to the gym or do shore trips for shopping, etc.

Puyallup Bridge

We walked up to the Bridge to see state of the art navigation & radar. Safety is a huge imperitive, they have built in redundancy for all their equipment. A “man overboard drill” is required by the Coast Guard on a frequent basis, so this was performed when we neared the Edmonds side. We were pleased to see that they used a Safe Boat for the exercise. It took a minute to launch it & a minute to reach the life buoy which acted as the person in distress. The drill was a success, but being in that cold water for even 2 minutes wouldn’t have been fun.

During the 30 March Tour we had the opportunity of observing the USS Nimitz transiting out of Puget Sound on deployment.

During the 30 March Tour we had the opportunity of observing the USS Nimitz transiting out of Puget Sound on deployment.                                       (US Navy Photo)

On the way back west, we all went down to the engine room where Chief Engineer Eric Haynes explained the operation of the engines. They have 4 huge locomotive diesel engines. They use 2 when going across the Sound, and 3 when maneuvering into the dock. They generally cruise at 18 knots and can stop with in a boat length and a half, from 20 knots. We went out to the room where the drive shaft passes on it’s way to the propeller.

Puyallup Engineroom

One thing the engine room tour guides told us is that this ferry is 10 FT longer than Noah’s Ark but otherwise the same dimensions. When we left the engine room, we went up to the passenger lounge once again, where the Capt answered many questions for us.

We really appreciate their skills and professionalism & their willingness to take the time to answer endless questions we had. – Article by Pat and Byron Faber

Both ferry tours were extremely popular and filled up fast. We are looking into scheduling more tours this summer. Please call Byron Faber (360-638-1235, Cell 360-434-1144) if you are interested.

MV Puyallup


MV Puyallup is a Jumbo Mark II Class ferry operated by Washington State Ferries. This ferry, along with her sisters, is the newest and largest ferry in the fleet.

Length: 460′ 2”   Beam: 90′   Draft: 17′ 3”   Auto Deck Clearance: 16′

Horsepower: 13,200  (4 Deisel Electric Engines) Speed in Knots: 18

Max Passengers: 2500   Max Vehicles: 202 Crew 15

Built: Seattle  (Todd Pacific(Vigor) Shipyard) Year Built: 1999


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