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Replacement Keller Ferry vessel needs a name

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Date:  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Contact: Al Gilson, Communications Manager
WSDOT Eastern Region
2714 N. Mayfair
Spokane, WA  99207

Construction of the new vessel for the Keller Ferry route across the Columbia River gets under way later this month at a shipyard near Longview. After the hull, engines and rudder, one of the important components of the new vessel is the name.

The Washington State Department of Transportation needs your help. Anyone can suggest a name for the new boat and it’s easy to do. Go to the new Keller Ferry vessel website – – and click on the “Help Name the New Vessel” link. The Web page lists the vessel naming guidelines and gives directions to the interactive vessel name input page. The deadline for names suggested by the public on this website is March 31.

The vessel name is required fairly soon so it can be placed on critical components and noted in documentation required by the U.S. Coast Guard as the boat is built and certified for service.

WSDOT operates the largest ferry fleet in the country with 23 vessels and also has vessel naming traditions. All new WSDOT vessels have names with Native American significance. WSDOT will work very closely with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. The Keller Ferry route serves the southern portion of the reservation, and the tribe contributed $2 million toward the $12 million cost of the new boat.

WSDOT plans to present one or two potential names to the Washington State Transportation Commission, which has the authority for approving all ferry vessel names.

The new vessel is scheduled to go into service spring 2013. The boat replaces the Martha S. which has plied the route since 1948. Repairs of the Martha S. are becoming more frequent and parts for the antiquated engines and propulsion systems are difficult to obtain and expensive.

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