Skagit County eyes all-electric ferry

Historic M/V Guemes has provided service between Anacortes and Guemes Island since 1979 Historic M/V Guemes has provided service between Anacortes and Guemes Island since 1979

AUGUST 29, 2017 — Skagit County, WA, has selected Seattle based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten to design a vehicle/passenger ferry to replace the historic M/V Guemes, which has provided service between Anacortes and Guemes Island, WA since 1979, and is nearing the end of its economic useful life.

With a capacity of 99 passengers and 21 vehicles, the vessel forms a primary mode of transit for residents of and visitors to Guemes Island.

The county has been considering replacing the diesel powered M/V Guemes with an all electric vessel. It says that, if constructed, an all-electric vessel would potentially reduce operational and maintenance costs, increase energy independence and reduce harmful CO2 (Carbon dioxide) air emissions by 619,359 kg.

A propulsion/feasibility study, completed in 2016, concluded, that based on power requirements, "…an all-electric propulsion system for a new concept vessel to replace the M/V Guemes is highly feasible for this particular route and its unique environmental conditions."

Glosten says that an early task will be to quantitatively evaluate propulsion system options, including electric, hybrid, and geared diesel – an objective analysis that has not been performed to date. This study will give the county the information needed to be confident in its selection of a propulsion system.

Glosten has designed and modified passenger vessels for agencies across North America, including Alaska, British Columbia, California, New York, and Washington.

The firm has proven expertise in hybrid and electric propulsion technology; staff recently designed a hybrid passenger-only ferry for Kitsap Transit, and are currently developing Alabama's Gee's Bend all electric ferry conversion.

"What excites us about the Skagit vessel is the opportunity to shape the future of transit for a community," commented Glosten Project Manager/Design Lead William Moon III, PE. "We are committed to supporting the county's vision of an all-electric ferry, and are ready to put in the work to develop a vessel that can serve this county for another forty years."

"This ferry is a critical transportation link in our community," remarked Captain Rachel Rowe, Skagit County Ferry Operations Division Manager. "We are pleased to work with an accomplished team like Glosten to design the vessel that will serve this island for years to come."

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