The history of the WA State Ferry System is a fascinating one, originating in the early 1900's with several private steamboat operators, known as the "Mosquito Fleet," to the present State-run operations we have today.
The WA State Ferry System is the largest ferry system in the United States, serving eight counties within Washington and the Province of British Columbia in Canada. WSF’s existing system has 10 routes and 20 terminals that are served by 28 vessels. In fiscal year 1999, WSF carried over 11 million vehicles and 26 million people—over one million more walk-on and vehicle passengers and 500,000 more vehicles and drivers than in fiscal year 1997.
The largest ferry in the fleet is the Jumbo Mark II Class, like the M/V Wenatchee. It's over 460 feet long, 90 feet wide, and carries a maximum of 202 vehicles and 2500 passengers.
Every weekday morning, more than 75,000 Puget Sound residents commute to work or school on board a Washington State Ferry. The WSF provides a helpful "Commuter Center" website that keeps riders well-informed and updated, complete with current wait times and location web cams.
Tourism makes up another large segment of ferry ridership. Whether it's just a short relaxing half day getaway, a weekend escape, or a prolonged vacation, Washington State Ferries are a wonderful mode of transportation to consider. They make some of Washington's most picturesque and historic destinations easily accessible.
If you ever plan a trip to the Puget Sound area, make sure you include a ferry ride in your plans!
Rich Jacobson, www.KitsapLife.com