The Bremerton to Seattle fast-ferry route will now have two Rich Passage-class vessels after All American Marine delivered the M/V Reliance to Kitsap Transit Wednesday.
The Reliance is anticipated to enter service in about a month’s time, according to Kitsap Transit. Final checks on the vessel systems need to be completed and the crew needs to be familiarized with the vessel and obtain permission from the U.S. Coast Guard.
“When we are ready to put Reliance into service, it will become the primary vessel on Kitsap Fast Ferries Bremerton-Seattle route, Kitsap Transit Public Information Officer Sanjay Bhatt said. “The current fast ferry, Rich Passage 1, will become our back-up boat.”
A third vessel, the M/V Lady Swift, is expected for delivery this summer and will be added to the Bremerton to Seattle fast-ferry route. Once the Lady Swift arrives, Rich Passage 1 will go into a shipyard for major maintenance work, which will include application of the new fast-ferry branding.
After maintenance is complete, KT will have three vessels ready and available to operate the Bremerton to Seattle route. Then, a two-boat operation will be established with an additional 20 sailings a week, which is every 30 minutes during commute hours on weekdays. The two-boat operation is expected to launch sometime in 2019, according to KT.
In regard to the design of the Reliance, it is very similar in weight to the Rich Passage 1, to ensure beaches are not impacted.
“We learned from the prototype RP1 and did make some improvements,” Bhatt said. “Reliance has a wet exhaust instead of exhaust pipes sticking out of the top of the vessel. The wet exhaust will allow the vessel to run cooler and quieter.”
The engines on the Reliance have to meet stricter federal emission standards, according to Kitsap Transit. As a result, the engines have less horsepower. To maintain speed requirements, All American Marine installed a composite material for the decks and cabin that is substantially lighter than what is currently on the Rich Passage 1.
The cabin also incorporated upgrades to benefit passengers such as providing power outlets, windows which deckhands can periodically open for fresh air and a built-in HVAC system.
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com