DELIVERED: (from left) Matt Nichols, Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, Warren Hull, NC Power Systems, Toby Rickman, Pierce County Public Works & Utilities, and Stephen Welch, Todd Pacific Shipyards, display a compass and clock to be delivered to the wheel house of the new Steilacoom II.
Pierce County’s newest ferry “Steilacoom II” was duly christened for service on Jan. 6. Despite gray skies overhead, a crowd of mainlanders boarded the 216-ft. vessel that departed the Union Avenue terminal at approximately 12:30 p.m. that afternoon.
On hand for the christening were dignitaries representing the builders, the county, and the Town of Steilacoom.
The new ferry which replaced the 70-year-old Steilacoom I, carries 299 passengers and 54 vehicles. It travels at 11.4 knots. Cost for the new vessel, built by Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders, was $11.2 million, more than double the cost of the Christine Anderson that was launched in 1994.
The new ferries will be used alternately, extending the service life of each, according to Pierce County’s Media and Community Relations spokesman Dick Ferguson.
“The Steilacoom I is in good operating condition, but it is too small and doesn’t meet current capacity needs,” said bridge engineering supervisor Don Peterson of Pierce County’s Public Works and Utilities Department.