Seattle Bremerton Passenger Only Fast Ferry Study

In 2004, recognizing that the key to sustainable fast ferry service between Bremerton and Seattle was a scientifically sound and environmentally sensitive passenger ferry fleet and service plan, a team of consultants was engaged to:

  • Establish science regarding wake impacts using both data and predictive tools
  • Establish wake criteria to minimize shoreline damage in Rich Passage from fast ferry wake damage
  • Optimize the design for and build a low-wake prototype vessel
  • Engage shoreline property owners through continuous communication of study and technical findings
  • Apply science to identify and address the environmental impacts in an open, public forum
  • Conduct impact studies in a full-scale operating environment using the prototype vessel

Much has been accomplished over the course of the project:

  • An integrated set of impact modeling tools have been developed that can be used for Rich Passage and other confined waterways around the world.
  • A low-wake hull has been designed and optimized for the prototype vessel using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis.
  • The Rich Passage 1 (RP 1), a low-wake prototype vessel, has been built that meets the performance criteria established through past research. 
  • A comprehensive database has been compiled to form a baseline for future testing of the Rich Passage 1 in Rich Passage.

The next step in the project is to measure the shoreline response to the Rich Passage 1 in a field operating test.  The field test is designed to simulate a high-speed passenger ferry service.  Wake data will be collected to measure wakes, waves and water levels at multiple locations in sensitive areas along the ferry route.  Shoreline data will be collected through geo-referenced beach photos, observations, extensive beach profile surveys, direct measurement of gravel transport and ground-based laser scanning surveys.

The field test service is scheduled to begin June 25, 2012.  If the RP 1 performs as expected, the test service will operate through October 2012.

For frequently asked questions, please click here. (pdf)

For test service schedule, fare and reservation information

For more information about the wake research project

Updated June 15, 2012