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  • A Hybrid-Electric Passenger Ferry for Puget Sound

    In 2018, Washington county transportation authority Kitsap Transit commissioned a passenger-only aluminum catamaran that would support service between three terminals in the Puget Sound area. 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.

    A Ferry Bound for Puget Sound

    Kitsap Transit wanted a vessel that could replace the diesel-fueled ferry operating on routes between Port Orchard, Bremerton, and Annapolis. Glosten was engaged to deliver the concept and contract design development. Our team worked closely with Kitsap Transit to create a flexible design that would operate smoothly in the vessel’s home waters of Sinclair Inlet and allow it to adapt to alternate conditions in the event it moved elsewhere.

    Passenger-Friendly Design

    At the time of its development, the concept for the Waterman’s hybrid-electric propulsion system was relatively new, and Glosten worked with the US Coast Guard to gain approval. A propulsion study and computational fluid dynamic analysis of the hull resistance were performed to ensure the one-of-a-kind design would be viable. A great deal of consideration was given to passenger comfort, resulting in spaces with lots of natural light, an ADA-accessible bow, and a spacious passenger cabin and sun deck. In addition, the Waterman’s unique propulsion system allows the vessel to switch to battery power to prevent exhaust and noise while passengers load and unload.

    Battery Meets Diesel

    The Waterman runs on a mix of battery and diesel power via twin BAE Systems HybriDrive lithium-ion propulsion systems driving fixed pitch propellers. This setup includes a generator, propulsion power converter, and house load power supply and control system that works in tandem with a lightweight aluminum hull to save on fuel consumption. 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.

    How can we help you?

    Whether you’re looking for a new design or want to bring an existing vessel up to zero-emission standards, our team can help you find the best solution to meet your needs.

    All photos courtesy of All American Marine.


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