Foot ferry service may increase in 2015

Kitsap Transit officials hope to add another boat its foot ferry service in 2015 between Port Orchard and Bremerton.

John Clauson, executive director for Kitsap Transit, said they are in the design phase of construction on a hybrid vessel that will serve as a “sister ship” to the Admiral Pete, which carries 120 people.

Clauson said the new vessel would operate on diesel to recharge its batteries during the run. The ship then would function on batteries alone as it pulls into the dock.

“It’s like a (Toyota) Prius on water,” said Clauson, adding that he is hopeful construction can begin later this year.

He said Kitsap Transit might apply the approximately $68,000 it received last month as its share of the $123.5 million in federal ferry funding Puget Sound operators received in late May from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Clauson said Kitsap Transit also could apply that allocation to last year’s formula funds to repaint the Port Orchard float.

Clauson said adding a new boat as the 97-year-old Carlisle II has been out of service since its annual maintenance and inspection April 2. That uncovered age-related wood damage that must be repaired before it can return to operation. Clauson said he is hopeful that the 143-passenger Carlisle II will return this service later this month.

But even when the Carlisle II is functional, Clauson said Kitsap Transit must rely on a contractor, Kitsap Harbor Tours, to help handle runs through both Sinclair Inlet and Annapolis.

“The other boats are owned by our contractor and they are smaller than what we need,” Clauson said.

In addition to savings with owning a new vessel that would reduce Kitsap Transit’s usage of Kitsap Harbor Tours, Clauson said the hybrid ship would be less expensive to operate than the Admiral Pete and Carlisle II. He said Kitsap Transit officials project the new vessel, which is expected to cost more than $1 million, could “recoup the capital cost in about 3 1/2 years.”


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