M/V Waterman: Puget Sound’s First Hybrid-Electric Passenger Ferry

All Images Courtesy of All American Marine

  • Client:
    Kitsap Transit
  • Key Collaborators:
    All American Marine
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification, Passenger Vessels
  • Service Categories:
    Marine Engineering
    Owner Services & Onsite Support
    Naval Architecture
  • Vessel Overview:
    70-foot hybrid-electric passenger catamaran
  • Challenge:
    Develop the concept and contract design for a hybrid-electric ferry.


In 2015, Washington county transportation authority Kitsap Transit commissioned a passenger-only aluminum catamaran that would run between three terminals in the Puget Sound area. Glosten was responsible for the concept and contract design and worked closely with Kitsap Transit to develop a vessel that could operate smoothly in the waters of Sinclair Inlet and adapt to alternate conditions in the event it moved elsewhere. With a length of 70 feet, unique battery-diesel hybrid propulsion system, and enough room to carry up to 150 passengers, the M/V Waterman is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.


At the time of the Waterman’s development, hybrid-electric propulsion was relatively new. The ferry runs on a mix of battery and diesel power via twin BAE HybriDrive lithium-ion propulsion systems driving fixed pitch propellers. In addition to a reduction in fuel consumption, the Waterman’s unique propulsion system allows the vessel to switch to battery power to eliminate exhaust and noise while passengers load and unload.

Glosten performed a propulsion study and CFD analysis of the hull resistance to ensure the design would be viable and worked with the US Coast Guard to gain regulatory approval. As the first hybrid-electric passenger ferry in the Pacific Northwest, the Waterman and Kitsap Transit have helped pave the way for maritime decarbonization on the West Coast.