Kingston fast ferry retrofitting its primary vessel

With the Kingston fast-ferry service to launch later this year, the M/V Finest was announced as the primary vessel in operation.

KINGSTON — With the Kingston fast-ferry service expected to launch later this year, the M/V Finest was announced as the primary vessel in operation.

The 350-passenger boat that was used to evacuate people from lower Manhattan during the attacks of 9/11 is undergoing a top-to-bottom overhaul at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, a custom vessel construction company in Whidbey Island.

The boat is anticipated to be delivered in late September. Kitsap Transit initially plans to cap the passenger load of the Finest to 150, which is more than sufficient capacity based on ridership projections.

Kitsap Transit is conducting an online survey to gather community feedback that will help develop the sailing schedule for fast-ferry service.

The survey also helps Kitsap Transit plan for transit services to and from the Kingston ferry terminal. The survey closes July 31.

Dock improvements are planned at the Port of Kingston’s dock to allow Kitsap Transit to operate and moor its fast ferry under a 50-year lease. Kitsap Transit is also hiring staff to crew the vessels and process passengers on the dock.

The 172-passenger M/V Melissa Ann, which Kitsap Transit has leased, will serve as a backup commuter to the Finest. The Melissa Ann has served as a commuter ferry in Honolulu and on the Seattle-Vashon Island route.

In Bremerton, the fast-ferry service is marking its one-year anniversary. Kitsap Transit has carried more than 250,000 riders and completed 95 percent of scheduled sailings, the agency reported.

The 118-passenger Rich Passage 1 is running nearly full on all commuter trips with passengers originating travel from Kitsap County.

— Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Tyler can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com

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