Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council Navy League of the US

Feb 3: Washington State Ferry Tour


                                             Washington State Ferry Tour, Back by Popular Demand!

Sixteen Navy Leaguers and guests assembled at the Kingston ferry terminal on Wed. Feb. 3, 2016 for a ride/tour on a Washington State Ferry.  We boarded the M/V Spokane for the 10:25 AM sailing to Edmonds with Capt. John Tullis, prepared to share his 30 years of experience with us, in command.

The Spokane is one of two Jumbo class WSF ferries (the other is M/V Walla Walla) built in 1972.  It is 440′ long, has 4 diesel engines which drive alternators that provide power to the electric drive motors (same as in a diesel railroad locomotive), makes 16 knots when underway although can be pushed to 18 knots, carries 206 cars and 2000 passengers.  Because the route crosses the main Puget Sound shipping lanes care must be taken when encountering traffic there.  Usually the ferry, even if it has the right of way, will defer to container ships, tankers, Navy vessels, etc. being more maneuverable.  Radar in the wheelhouse shows very effectively the locations of all ships/boats, navigation aids and the ferry’s location within that.

Unfortunately due to hightened security regulations we were not able to visit the operating wheelhouse but instead where shown the trailing wheelhouse where the instruments and operations were explained.  We also went down to the engine room and viewed the amazing array of gauges, dials, switches and other controls that are monitored by the engineers and used to insure proper operation of the electric and mechanical systems.

Most people take for granted the reliability of a Washington State Ferry run.   Our tour showed us some of the “behind the scenes” reasons for that reliability.

Upon return to Kingston some of us gathered for lunch together.  A big thank you to Capt. John Tullis and to Byron Faber for another great tour. Norm Marten