Ferry Fare

Schedule changes and other future plans for ferry service in Kingston.

Slippery schedules

Because of new work rules and the inability to maintain the current Kingston-Edmonds schedule, Washington State Ferries is revising it.

The Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue station on Miller Bay Road to discuss changes to ferry schedules and long-range plans. The public is welcome.

A WSF representative will be riding the ferries at the end of October and beginning of November to get your input on the revision. If you miss them, contact Paul Lundy of our Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee. He’s in the phone book and commutes on the 6:25 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. ferries. The new schedule goes into effect Jan. 4.

Future ferry plans

North Kitsapers swamped WSF briefings in Edmonds and Kingston last month. A great summary is in the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council notes on page 6 of this issue. Want more detail, including the future alternatives for Kingston? Go to the WSF Web site (www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/) planning section and click on “Ferry Finance Legislation.” On the left, in the public meetings box, you can click to download the meeting handouts.

WSF will complete a draft, long-range plan and post it on their site by Nov. 15. There’ll also be a copy at the local libraries. Formal hearings on the plan will be in December and you may send in your comments as well. In January, the plan goes to the legislature.

Adios amigos!

Our steel-electric ferries have been sold for scrap in Mexico for $500,000. Meanwhile, WSF’s passenger ferries, Snohomish and Chinook, are being sold for use on the San Francisco Bay. By law, proceeds of the latter sale are to be used for passenger ferries. The Port of Kingston and King County have both applied for this money and if justice prevails we should get about half.

Pushing ferries around

When seeing a wake at a ferry’s bow during docking, it comes to mind that it may have a bow thruster. It doesn’t; instead, our ferries have a separate propeller on each end. Underway, the ferry’s rear propeller drives the boat while the front-end propeller freewheels.

Our ferry fleet uses three types of propulsion systems:

Electric drive, with pilot house control. Diesel engines drive generators, which power two electric motors that turn each propeller. The motors are controlled from the pilothouse. With the propellers at the stern and bow turning in opposite directions, the ferry can use its rudders to spin around in its own length. This system is on our Jumbo II ferries, the Puyallup, Wenatchee and Tacoma.

Electric drive, with telegraph control. Again, the propellers are turned by electric motors. However in this system, the engine room controls engine speed and direction. On these boats, both propellers must go in the same direction. As a result, these boats are the most difficult to maneuver. This system is on our Jumbo class ferries, the Spokane and Walla Walla.

Mechanical drive. The propellers are driven directly by the diesel engines, making this our most energy-efficient propulsion system. The ship’s diesel engines can either drive each propeller separately or be hooked together to drive the propellers. This system also has “variable pitch” propellers. This means the angle, or pitch, of the propeller blades can be changed to optimize speed, load and maneuverability. These are on our five Issaquah class ferries.

Contact the Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee via Walt Elliott at (360) 297-2845 or elliottmoore@comcast.net.