Skagit County Public Works and vessel designer Glosten say they are seeking technical information and cost estimates from vendors to inform design decisions related to the electrical system, the propulsion system, the shore side electrical system, and the automated charging plug of the all-electric ferry design to replace the 41-year-old M/V Guemes currently in operation on the U.S. West Coast.
“This is relatively new propulsion technology – we need to make sure we get this right. We believe this level of engagement with the vendor community will allow us and Glosten to develop the best design for our community,” said Captain Rachel Rowe, Skagit County Public Works Ferry Operations Division Manager.
Skagit County Public Works engaged naval architecture firm Glosten in 2017 to develop an all-electric ferry design to replace the diesel-powered Guemes. The new vessel will be a double-ended vehicle and passenger ferry with a three-tiered deckhouse. The design accommodates four lanes of vehicles including highway-rated trucks and emergency vehicles.
Vendors interested in participating in this request for information (RFI) for the project can visit here for more details. The RFI period will remain active until June 30, 2020.
Skagit County has operated a vehicle and passenger ferry service between Anacortes and Guemes Island, Wash. since the early 1960s. The current vessel, the M/V Guemes, is a 21-vehicle, 99-passenger, diesel-powered ferry that was built and put into service in 1979. Today, the ferry operates 365 days a year and transports roughly 200,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers annually.
There are no alternative roads or highways that provide access to Guemes Island; as such, the Skagit County ferry system serves as a vital transportation link for its ridership. In addition to transporting commuters, the ferry also carries tourist traffic, construction and logging trucks, essential services trucks, and emergency vehicles and personnel to and from the Island.
Related: Glosten is also currently involved in a project to develop an electric pilot boat.