Ferries earn national award

The state’s newest ferries, built in part by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, have been named as “Significant Boats of 2011” by the maritime industry publication WorkBoat Magazine.

The Freeland shipyard was a subcontractor on construction of the ferries Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick for Washington State Ferries. The company built the superstructure for each of the 64-car vessels.

WorkBoat Magazine notified WSF in early November that the three Kwa-di Tabil-class ferries were among the 50 boats nominated for the prestigious annual award. Each year, WorkBoat editors review the boats they’ve featured in the magazine and choose the 10 vessels deserving of special recognition.

The winners were announced Nov. 30 at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, La. and will be featured in the January 2012 issue of WorkBoat Magazine.

“This is a tremendous distinction and one we are excited to share with our partners Vigor Industrial and Elliott Bay Design Group,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for Washington State Ferries. “We’re pleased this new class of ferries is getting this well-deserved national attention.”

“We’re immensely proud of this honor, and of the skilled men and women who labored more than half a million hours to build these great ferries,” said Brian Evert, manager of new construction for Vigor Industrial, which acquired the original builder Todd Pacific Shipyards in 2011.

“We were honored to be part of the team,” added John Waterhouse, chief concept engineer at Elliott Bay Design Group, the company that designed the vessel.

WorkBoat magazine editors said the industry considers the Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick significant because they are the first new boats for the WSF in more than a decade and represent a much-needed vessel upgrade for the Coupeville (Keystone)-Port Townsend route. Authorities said the boats are distinctive in design, both inside and out.

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