On March 28, All American Marine Inc. and King County (Washington) dedicated a new passenger ferry at a ceremony on Vashon Island, near Seattle. The Sally Fox is the first of two new ferries ordered by King County’s marine division as replacement vessels for their scheduled water taxi service.  All American Marine was awarded the contract at the start of 2014. 

The Sally Fox is the first Subchapter K inspected passenger vessel built and delivered under the new 5A Space Performance Guidelines issued in NVIC 9-97, Ch-1 released in 2010. The NVIC was a result of the Quality Partnership working group between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Passenger Vessel Association. The new guidelines make it possible for boatbuilders to design and implement suitable structural fire protection in very low fire load spaces in the construction of weight-sensitive, high-speed passenger vessels.

The new ferry will operate in the Puget Sound providing passenger-only service between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle. The sister vessel, Doc Maynard, is under construction at All American and is set to be delivered in the fall for operations between West Seattle and downtown Seattle. King County’s two new vessels will be supported by a third All American-built catamaran, the Spirit of Kingston, which was acquired by the King County in 2013.

AAM partnered with Teknicraft Design Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand, for the hull design. Each 105'x33' aluminum catamaran features an advanced hull shape that was custom designed using digital modeling and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis testing. The hull design is complemented by Teknicraft’s signature integration of a wave piercer that is positioned between the catamaran sponsons to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag while enhancing passenger comfort. 

The catamaran is powered by twin Cummins QSK-50 Tier 3 engines, each rated 1,800 hp @ 1,900 rpm to provide a service speed of 28 knots. The design features interior seating for 250 with 28 additional outdoor seats available. The main deck is ADA-accessible and the cabin includes designated seating areas for those with disabilities. The aft deck includes a staggered-height storage rack for 26 bicycles. As an environmentally friendly alternative to paint, the decks are covered with peel-and-stick non-slip tread, and the exterior of the superstructure is wrapped in UV-stable vinyl. 

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).