The King County Ferry District in Washington state has selected All American Marine, Bellingham, Wash., for the design and construction of two identical 250-passenger aluminum catamarans. One will shuttle passengers between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle, and the other will operate between West Seattle and downtown. 

Vessel design is being provided by Teknicraft Design Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand, and will be built to Coast Guard Subchapter K specifications. Each 105'×33' vessel will feature Teknicraft’s signature hull shape with symmetrical bow, asymmetrical tunnel and integrated wave piercer. The King County ferries will not, however, include hydrofoil assist, which are often part of Teknicraft’s cat designs. The new ferries will be powered by twin Cummins QSK-50 Tier 3 engines, each rated at 1,800 hp at 1,900 rpm.  

King County said the new ferries will replace the outdated 172-passenger vessels that are currently leased as part of its water taxi fleet. The new design features interior seating for 250 with additional outdoor seats available on the upper aft deck. The main deck is ADA-accessible, and the cabin includes designated seating areas for families and those with disabilities. Storage shelves will be provided for strollers and luggage, and the aft deck features a staggered-height bicycle storage rack for 26 bicycles.

Other recent and current passenger vessel work for All American and Teknicraft includes the 2013 delivery of the Triumphant, an 83'×29' excursion and tour boat for Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach, Calif. The hydrofoil-assisted catamaran carries 150 passengers for whale-watching tours during the day and dinner cruises at night. For power, twin 1,300-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT Tier 2 engines will turn ZF 3050A gears with 2.536:1 reduction ratios and Osborne Supertorq 5-bladed propellers. Top speed is 31 knots. Cruising speed is 26 knots. 

The Triumphant features lots of exterior seating, including stadium-style cushioned seating on the foredeck and upper deck perimeter seating. To ensure that everyone on board has a good view, the center seats inside are slightly elevated for better sightlines through the windows.  

LED lighting has also been used both inside and outside. Inside the main cabin, focused beams of overhead LEDs are used instead of traditional votives, and a color-changing light and music show creates a party atmosphere around the dance floor. 

“This boat has several really nice features,” said Joe Hudspeth, AAM’s vice president of business development. “The stadium seating at the bow is somewhat unusual and very popular, and the vibrant color scheme and creative use of LED lighting also makes it unique.”

In 2013, AAM also delivered a third 65' passenger ferry for Island Packers, Ventura, Calif., and a new 68' monohull passenger vessel for Hornblower Cruises and Events. Currently, AAM is building a third 83' hydrofoil-assisted, eco-tour catamaran for Kenai Fjord Tours in Seward, Alaska. — Bruce Buls