MV Salish to begin service at noon Friday, July 1

By Patrick J. Sullivan
Posted 6/27/11

UPDATED 12:30 a.m JUNE 29:

Two is better than one. Starting at noon on Friday, July 1, two vehicle ferries are in business on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route.

Washington State Ferries …

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MV Salish to begin service at noon Friday, July 1

Posted

UPDATED 12:30 a.m JUNE 29:

Two is better than one. Starting at noon on Friday, July 1, two vehicle ferries are in business on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route.

Washington State Ferries announced June 28 that the MV Salish is expected to join her sister ship Chetzemoka on the route July 1, in time for the year's busiest ferry travel weekend.

It's the first time since November 2007 that two vehicle ferries have served the route. Both ferries should be here until sometime in October, and the route return to one boat for the winter sailing season.

Also, double toll booths at the Port Townsend and Whidbey Island terminals go into use for this weekend, but may be closed next week for further construction.

A public ceremony to welcome the Salish starts at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 30 at the Port Townsend terminal.

Scheduled speakers Thursday include Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee and kept a larger terminal near Keystone and pushed for the 64-car ferries built for this challenging route.

Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond is on Thursday's agenda. Hammond shook the ferry culture in November 2007 when she pulled the plug on the venerable Steel Electric class ferries (1928) which had been around Port Townsend since 1983.

The Chetzemoka has been in revenue service here since Nov. 15, 2010, a period marked by the return of semi-truck traffic to this route, and overall increased ridership.

David Moseley, assistant secretary of the state's Ferries Division and another scheduled guest speaker, has said the goal is to have Salish on duty for the busy Fourth of July weekend. WSF has advised ferry travelers on several routes to plan ahead with reservations (when available) and general schedules.

UPDATE: June 29, Washington State Ferries announced the online registration system has been updated to show two ferries on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route.Reservations are now available on the WSF website  at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

or by calling 511. Reservation holders are advised to arrive at least 45 minutes in advance of sailing time to allow extra processing time due to additional traffic. WSF encourages reservation holders to pre-purchase their tickets online. 

 

Come aboard

The community celebration on June 30 at the PT terminal begins at 11 a.m. on the Salish vehicle deck with remarks from dignitaries. A tribal ceremony features the Port Gamble S'Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam and the Lower Elwha Klallam tribes. A vessel open house walkabout takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Salish won't leave the dock.

People coming from Whidbey Island for the ceremony should be on the 10:15 a.m. Chetzemoka sailing from Keystone Harbor. Walk-on passengers ride free on a first-come, first-served basis.

The WSF summer sailing schedule, effective June 19, shows 15 regular round-trips (with the Salish on duty) on the PT-Coupeville route, instead of the current 10 round-trips. The extra trips are sprinkled in from late morning to early evening. Each day’s final sailings remain at 8:30 p.m. from PT and at 9:15 p.m. from Whidbey Island.

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