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Washington State Transportation Commission Names New Ferries


The two new Olympic Class, 144-car ferries now under construction are being named Tokitae and Samish.


The other proposed names were Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot, Sammamish and Ivar Haglund.


Each of the seven proposals submitted met the commission guidelines for naming ferry vessels. The commission then solicited input on the seven proposals from Washington State Ferries, the Ferry Advisory Committee Executive Council, and through an online survey sent to members of the Ferry Riders Opinion Group and the Voice of Washington State survey panels. More than 4,000 people responded to the survey.

Of the 23 vessels currently operating in Puget Sound, almost all have names reflecting the state’s tribal heritage.  The names of the two new Olympic Class vessels, along with the new 64-car ferries, are in keeping with that tradition.

The first of the ferries under construction will be named Tokitae. This Coast Salish greeting means, “nice day, pretty colors” and also is the name given to an orca whale captured at Penn Cove, near Keystone, in 1970.

The second 144-car ferry will be named Samish. The meaning of the name is the “giving people”. The Samish Indian Nation has held a deep-rooted respect for the traditions of sharing with its neighbors. The tribe’s historic area ranges from the mountain tops of the Cascades westerly along the hills, woodlands, and river deltas, arriving at the far western shores of the San Juan Island.

Additional information on ferry naming can be found on the commission web site at:


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