Official Number: D508604. Call Sign: WY2512 Length: 382' 2'' Beam: 73' 2'' Draft: 18' 6'' Auto Deck Clearance: 16' Horsepower: 8,000
Speed in Knots: 20 Max Passengers: 1782 Max Vehicles: 144 City Built: San Diego Year Built/Re-built: 1967/1999 Name Translation: Native American/Chinook: "arrow."
The Kaleetan sailing through Rich Passage. Photo courtesy of Matt Masuoka.
| The Kaleetan emerged from the Lake Union Drydock Company in the fall of 1999 having had a multimillion dollar mid-life upgrade. Steel was replaced, asbestos removed, the interior gutted and replaced, and the engines rebuilt.
She returned to her familiar haunt, the San Juan Islands, where she had been since leaving the Winslow route in the early 1970's.
Not long after returning to the San Juans in 1999, the ferry began to split its time between the summer season in the islands and the fall and winter back at the Bremerton run. It was soon discovered that when a Super Class boat was put down at Bremerton, some of the traffic would bleed off the over-taxed Seattle-Winslow route.
Passengers which were often crammed into an Issaquah Class ferry for the 6:25 sailing out of Bremerton found themselves in a vessel that had room for 1300 more souls. Everyone being able to sit comfortably became a much-appreciated luxury. In addition, the narrow beam of the Kaleetan allowed her to travel through Rich Passage at full speed (the Super Class, save for the Elwha, throw off a very minimal wake) which shaved a few minutes off the commute.
Whether by coincidence or design, the pairing of two Issaquahs on the route came to an abrupt end. More and more frequently there is at least one Super on the Bremerton route, if not two. Still, the Kaleetan comes back to "home" waters every summer when tourist season demands three Supers in the San Juans. Bremerton tends to get the still larger Walla Walla for the summer months to replace the missing Super Class ferry.
The ferry was pulled out of service for a few months in 2005 to have an elevator installed, making her completely ADA compliant. She then returned to the San Juans before being assigned to the Bremerton route while the Yakima had an elevator put in at Lake Union Drydock company on Lake Union.
Today the Kaleetan has settled in to a regular schedule working the Seattle-Bremerton route, where her larger capacity in the passenger cabin is greatly appreciated.
The color scheme on the Kaleetan's refurbished interior was certainly an improvement. Unfortunately the choice of materials which the state chose (and should be noted despite the protesting of the crews who would ultimately end up cleaning it) turned out to be magnets for dirt. The fiberous material does a wonderous job of trapping grime and making it difficult if not nearly impossible to remove.
After using a similar materials in other vessels, the state went to something less porous. This photo is of the upper level passenger cabin, #1 end, looking back toward the galley. Photo Courtesy of Matt Masuoka.
|Back to the Hyak
|Through a lock, narrowly...
The narrow beam which permits the Super Class ferries to sail at full speed makes them just narrow enough to fit through the Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks. Here, the Kaleetan is squeezing through with mere inches to spare on either side after finishing her refurbishment work at the Lake Union Drydock Compan back in 1999. Courtesy of WSDOT.