In an emotional ceremony Aug. 8, the Suquamish Tribe named a new ship after an icon of the Suquamish diving community.
The Suquamish Tribe welcomed the newest member of the Suquamish Seafood Enterprises fleet in a dockside dedication ceremony in Poulsbo.
The F/V Carriere will serve as the flagship for the Tribe’s geoduck harvesting operations.
“This is a really big and great day, not just for our company and our divers, but for the Tribe and the community,” Suquamish Seafoods general manager Tony Forsman said.
“We have members who aren’t even born yet who will be using this boat. This is what will take us into the next generation in a safe, efficient and good way.”
The 49-foot aluminum dive boat is powered by twin diesel engines and is equipped with a suite of compressors that pump air to two divers at a time.
Built by Lee Shore Boats in Port Angeles, the nearly $1 million vessel was paid for in part through a grant by the Native American Agricultural Fund.
The ship is named after Jeff Carriere, a living legend in the Suquamish diving community who has served as a diver, tender and dive boat skipper with the Tribe for decades.
The ship’s name was unveiled Thursday at the ceremony in which Carriere attended.
Carriere, who was unaware the ship was being named after him, was overcome with emotion as a crew member peeled away a mask to reveal the name.
Carriere said he was overwhelmed with gratitude at the honor.
Carriere had helped design the new dive boat and was set to be its skipper before health issues forced him into early retirement.
“His fingerprints are all over the design of this boat and now he’ll be with us every time we go out,” said Jim Bourne, Suquamish Seafoods dive services manager.
Suquamish Seafood Enterprises, owned by the Suquamish Tribe, contracts Tribal divers to harvest geoduck from local waters.
The business harvests and markets approximately 420,000 pounds of wild geoduck each year.
The geoduck is a large clam considered a delicacy throughout much of Asia and is enjoying growing popularity in Western markets.