First look at potential new electric Kitsap Fast Ferry unveiled

Oct 24, 2023, 12:28 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm

Image: An image from the Foil Ferry Preliminary Design Report...

An image from the Foil Ferry Preliminary Design Report (Photo courtesy of Glosten, Inc. via the Department of Transportation)

(Photo courtesy of Glosten, Inc. via the Department of Transportation)

The initial design for the all-electric fast ferry for Kitsap County Transit was released by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), giving residents a first look at what could be sailing the Puget Sound in the next couple of years.

This design comes as a part of a 2020 grant that the federal government gave Kitsap County in order to research and design a new all-electric ferry that would be able to serve residents between Bremerton and Seattle.

More news: Wash. ferry’s biggest vessels starting their electrification makeover

The new electric ferry uses a hydrofoil, a wing underneath the board that uses the same principles as an airplane to lift the boat out of the water to reduce energy consumption. Due to the hydrofoil wing, the boat is expected to reduce the impact on marine life in the sound as well as create a smoother ride for passengers on the boat.

The county contracted the project to Glosten and Bieker Boats, based out of Anacortes, to design the 150-passenger ferry that uses “less than one-third of the energy of conventional fast ferries.”

“The Foil Ferry offers a safe, reliable and a cost–effective option while minimizing the environmental impact on air, water quality, and marine life compared to traditional diesel-powered alternatives,” Kitsap County said in their project update. “The preliminary design and economic and environmental impact studies validate the Foil Ferry concept design for the Bremerton-Seattle route, showing Foil Ferry to have environmental benefits and an estimated reduction of annual operating costs by 35% when compared to conventional diesel-powered fast ferries.”

The construction cost is estimated to be $14.1 million, and the operating cost for the ferry is estimated to be $1.3 million per year which includes energy, crew staffing, and maintenance.

While there is no timeline for when the project is expected to be completed, the next steps for the project are building a prototype bound before construction of the final project. Kitsap County is asking DOT for $18.5 million in federal aid in order to complete the project and build the necessary shoreline infrastructure for the boat.

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First look at potential new electric Kitsap Fast Ferry unveiled