Stine: Washington missed a golden opportunity in naming its newest ferry

Dec 15, 2021, 10:00 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm
Wishkah ferry...
Washington's first hybrid-electric ferry, Wishkah. (Washington State Ferries, Twitter)
(Washington State Ferries, Twitter)

Taken from KIRO Nights, edited for clarity.

After picking from six submitted finalists, the state will be naming its first-ever hybrid-electric ferry “Wishkah.”

Is it time to sell Washington ferry naming rights to raise money?

It’s based off a river in Aberdeen, running from the Olympic foothills southwards into Grays Harbor, and it’s supposed to be a really big deal, right? But I think that if you’re going to name a boat, wouldn’t you want to kind of meme it up a little bit? Wouldn’t you want to kind of put some spice on it? Wouldn’t you want something that really grabs your attention?

Other early submissions were more along those lines, including M/V DB Cooper, Always Late, M/V Sir Floats-A-Lot, Hector the Vector Connector, and Kevin, among many others, although none of those were considered among the finalists.

I understand the desire to name everything in King County and the surrounding areas, or having the name come from a Native American origin. But when I think about it, do we really need to do that?

I am of two minds about this, because I do happen to think that if you’re going to name a ferry, it’s nice to acknowledge the Native American peoples that were out and about and living here before white people came.

But at the same time, it seems a little condescending, doesn’t it? It seems like, “Hey, we stole your land, and hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of you were displaced, and we’ve named a boat after you in form of an apology.” Or, “We feel really bad about it, so here’s a boat named after you.” It seems odd.

Gov. Inslee hopes state lawmakers will ‘be more attentive’ to ferry system’s needs

In any case, the new 144-car ferry will debut on the Clinton/Mukilteo route in 2025.

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Stine: Washington missed a golden opportunity in naming its newest ferry