Guemes Island Ferry

Ferry Concept Design
Guemes Ferry Concept Design


About the Replacement Project
Skagit County has operated a vehicle and passenger ferry service between Anacortes and Guemes Island, WA since the early 1960s. The current vessel, the M/V GUEMES, is a 21-vehicle, 99-passenger, diesel-powered ferry that was built and put into service in 1979. Today, the ferry operates 365 days a year and transports roughly 200,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers annually.

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History of the Guemes Island Ferry

Guemes Island Ferry in 1919 the route was served by the then new (built 1917) motor ferry Guemes, 48.6 ft (14.81 m) long, 86 tons. Guemes was one of only nine true ferries then in operation on Puget Sound.[1] Guemes was kept on the route until 1960 when it was replaced by the Almar, a vessel which had been built in 1947 on Puget Island in the Columbia River.[2] Almar served as a ferry on the Columbia River until 1960. Almar, with a capacity for 9 vehicles, was not a true double-ender. This meant that ferry had to be backed into Anacortes slip. Large trucks could not be carried. Almar is reported to be still afloat in Alaska.[2] The Guemes Island Ferry operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year between Anacortes and Guemes Island. Skagit County has operated the ferry since the early 1960s when it was purchased from a private operator. The vehicle and passenger ferry M/V Guemes is a US Coast Guard inspected the vessel and is rated for 3 crew, 99 passengers, and 22 vehicles. We transport approximately 200,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers a year. The ferry crossing is ¾ of a mile in distance and a round trip takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The M/V Guemes was built in 1979 by Gladding Hearn shipyard in Somerset, Massachusetts. She was delivered and put into service in 1980.

Guemes Island Ferry 1957Guemes Ferry 1918

A renovation of the terminals at Anacortes and Guemes was completed in May 2011.[3] Also as of May 2011, the Washington State Department of Transportation has completed a new terminal building at Anacortes, with funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The new building houses a ferry user waiting area, staff area, restrooms, staff offices, and a ferry maintenance workshop.[4]

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Guemes Island Ferry 2018
Guemes Island Ferry 2018

By Chris LeBoutillier