*GREEN names are vessels in the current WSF fleet, BLUE retired WSF vessel RED for Black Ball Line, PURPLE, county ferry in service.
(Some of these will obviously overlap.)

Acorn--from the tree nut of the same name probably due to the vessel's size

Airline--continuing with the ABC theme of Crosby ferries, Airline was the A.

Bainbridge--from the Island of the same name; Cmdr. Charles Wilkes discovered that it was an island when he traversed Agate Pass,
and named it for Capt. William Bainbridge, a naval hero of the War of 1812

Beeline--the B in the Crosby Direct Ferry Lines fleet

Ballard--from the city of the same name; named for Capt. William Rankin Ballard, who bought several hundred acres there in 1882

Bailey Gatzert--named for a mayor of Seattle


Chelan--from Lake Chelan, which means "deep water"

Chetzemoka--named for the S'Klallam chief who lived near Port Townsend

Chimacum--Named after the tribe (now considered extinct)

Chinook--name of the jargon from which the ferries derive their names; a warm  wind

Chippewa--from the Native American Tribe near the Great Lakes

City of Angeles--for the City of Port Angeles; In 1791, the bay was named Puerto de Neustra Senora de Los Angeles by Juan Francisco
de Eliza, through his lieutenant, Juan Pantoja y Arriago, who mapped the harbor. In 1792, Capt. George Vancouver altered the long
Spanish name to the present form.

City of Bremerton--for the city of Bremerton; the city was named for William Bremer, a Geman immigrant who platted the town,
and later sold land for the Navy Yard. The town was platted on December 10, 1891 and it was incorporated on October 16, 1901.
The post office was established November 19, 1892

City of Clinton--for the city of Clinton, a town on Whidbey Island; It was named for Clinton County, Iowa, by Edward C. Hinman
who came from Iowa in 1883 and filed a timber claim.

City of Mukilteo--for the city; the present name, suggested by J. D. Fowler, the first postmaster, is from the Indian name of the
place which is thought to mean "good camping ground." Muckl-te-oh, was revised to suit the postal service. Spellings on older
maps include Muckilteo, Muckleteo and Muckiltoe. It was incorporated May 8, 1947

City of Sacramento--for the California state capitol city; In either 1799 or 1808, the Spanish explorer Gabiel Moraga
discovered and named the Sacramento Valley and the Sacramento River. A Spanish writer with the Moraga expedition wrote,
"Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current.Birds chattered
in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths. The air was like champagne, and (the Spaniards) drank deep of it, drank
in the beauty around them. "Como el sagrado sacramento!" (It's like the Holy Sacrament!)

City of Seattle--for the city

City of Steilacoom--for the city of Steilacoom; Steilacoom, one of the first towns in Washington was founded as Port Steilacoom
by Lafayette Balch. Versions of the name origin included that it was "...derived from Chief Tail-a-koom"
(Dictionary of Indian Geographic Names); that it was for the "...pink flowers plentiful in that locality..."
(Henry Sicade. Tacoma Times. June 19, 1920); that "Steilacoom was named after Steilacoom Creek by Lafayette Balch
who spelled it 'Cheilcoom.')

City of Tacoma--or the city of Tacoma (see Tacoma)

Clatawa-- also Klatawa is a Chinook Jargon word meaning "to go" or "to travel."

Clallam--big, brave nation

Coho--named for the salmon, which are also known as silver salmon

Crosline--from Captain Crosby's name, the C in the ABC scheme

Deception Pass--In 1790, this feature was named Boca de Flon by Manuel Quimper. The same name was charted by
Juan Francisco de Eliza. Capt. George Vancouver named it Port Gardner in 1792 not knowing that the channel was open
at the west end. When Joseph Whidbey of his command found the western outlet, Vancouver renamed itDeception Passage,
because he had been deceived as to its nature. In 1841, Cmdr. Charles Wilkes used Vancouver's name on his charts.

Defiance--named for Point Defiance; The point was named by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes, who stated that "This narrow pass was
intended by nature for the defense of Puget Sound." The name he selected reflects this idea.


Enetai--across, on the other side

Evergreen State--state nickname

Fox Island--named for the island of the same name; In 1841, Cmdr. Charles Wilkes named it for Dr. J. L. Fox, assistant
surgeon of the Wilkes Expedition

Gig Harbor--named for the harbor; the bay was named by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes, in 1841 who believed that the bay had sufficient depth
for a captain's gig.

Guemes--Guemes Island is a triangular island of about eight square miles north of Anacortes across Guemes Channel in northwest
Skagit County. The name was given in 1791 by Lieut. Juan Francisco de Eliza, for the Viceroy of Mexico, Don Juan Vincente de Guemes
Pacheco y Padillo Orcasitas y Aguayo, Conde de Revilla Gigedo. Various portionsof the Count's name were given to other locations
in the Pacific Northwest.

Harvester King--named for the vessels former use as a kelp harvester

Hiyu--plenty, much

Hyak--fast, speedy


Illahee--land, place, location; ground, earth, dirt

Indianapolis--Jeremiah Sullivan, a judge of the Indiana Supreme Court, invented the name Indianapolis by joining
Indiana with polis, the Greek word for city; Indianapolis literally means "Indiana City".

Iroquois--The Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee , the Five Nationsand Five Nations of the Iroquois (Six Nations after 1722),
and (to themselves) the Goano'ganoch'sa'jeh'seroni [or Ganonsyoni, are a historically powerful important Native American
people who formed the Iroquois Confederacy, a league of five (later six) distinct nations. The name means "Heart people, people of God."

Issaquah--Samish/Snoqualmie Tribes, Lushoot dialect "place of the Squak People"


Kahloke--white swan

Kalakala--flying bird

Kalama--pretty maiden



Kennewick--winter paradise, winter haven; grassy place, grassy slope

Kitsap--named for chief Kitsap, meaning "brave"

Kittitas-- name is from the Native American word K'tatus, meaning gray gravel bank; it refers to an extensive gravel bank
on a river shoal near Ellensburg

Klahanie--great out of doors

Klahowya--greetings, or "how do you do?"


Kulshan--Native American name for Mount Baker; various meanings, including, "white sentinel" and "shot at the point"


Leschi--named for the chief of the Nisqually tribe

Lincoln--named after the President


Malahat--name meaning has been lost

Mount Vernon--named for the city; the town was named by E. C. English and Harrison Clother in March of 1877
for George Washington's estate on the Potomac River near Alexandria, Virginia.


Nisqually--The journal of John Work, a long time Hudson's Bay Company employee, first mentioned it as a geographical point.
One source reports that the name is an "...Indian adaptation of the French-Canadian servants of the Hudson's Bay Company who
called the Indians Nez Carre." (Square nose.) Henry Sicade wrote that "...squally ..." was the name of his tribe of Indians and that
the word meant "... the tops and flowers of various roots and herbs which come up or grow annually....these tops grew thick every
spring and the sight was quite beautiful to behold, especially when the wind blew and caused a wavy motion." (Sperlin, p. 490).
T. T. Waterman noted that the name came from "Tusqwele" which mean "late" referring to a later running of salmon up the
Nisqually River than other nearby streams.


Olympic--for the Mountain range; mountains took the name from the tallest peak, Mount Olympus; the name was given by
Capt. John Meares who said at the time, "For truly it must be the home of the Gods."

Oscar B--named after former skipper and owner  (of the Wahkiakum ferry run) Oscar Bergseng,


Potlatch--to give, or gift

Puget--named for Puget Sound, which was named for Peter Puget

Puyallup--"generous and welcoming behavior to all people (friends and strangers) who enter our lands.”


Quilcene--salt water people, after the tribe

Quillayute--from the tribe/river, meaning "Joining together of rivers."

Quinault--from the tribe, "river with a lake in the middle"


Rhododendron--state flower

Rosario--Spanish for rosary; a strait in the San Juan Islands,  where the ferry sailed
after rebuilding.  Capt. Kellet gave it the present name in 1847 which is a simplification of the name
Canal de Nuestra Senora del Rosario la Marinara, given in 1790 by Manuel Quimper.


Salish--from the Salishan: a group of people in the NW US and lover mainland Canada who speak a common language

Samish--the name of a tribe who lived around Lake Samish and on Samish Island, meaning "giving people."

San Diego--named for the city; vessel was built for the San Diego-Coronado ferry run

San Mateo--from the California city, "Saint Matthew"

Sealth--from the Chief of the Duwamish/Suquamish tribes. Seattle is named for him.

Seattle--for the city

Shasta--from the Cascade volcano in northern California (various meanings, one being "white mountain."

Skagit--from the tribe/river/county—name meaning lost

Skansonia--named after her builders, the Skansie Brothers

Smokwa--heron,or great blue heron

Sol Duc--sparkling, mystical waters

Spokane--children of the sun

Suquamish--from the tribe, meaning of name is unknown


Tacoma--from the city and Mount Rainier "Snowy mountain"

Tahoma--same as above


Tokitae--nice day, pretty colors



Vashon--from the island, which was named by Captain Vancouver for his friend, Captain James Vashon

Vashonia--from the island, which was named by Captain Vancouver for his friend, Captain James Vashon


Walla Walla--Place of many waters

Washington--for the state/first president of the US

Wenatchee--"river which comes [or whose source is] from canyons" or "robe of the rainbow"

West Seattle--for the western part of the city where the ferry used to sail to

Whatcom--from the stream that connects Lake Whatcom to Bellingham Bay.  "Noisy waters."

Whatcom Chief--for the Lake/Creek/former part of Bellingham

Whidby---for Whidbey Island; It was named on June 24, 1792 by Capt. George Vancouver, for Joseph Whidbey, master of the ship
Discovery,who proved it was an island by exploring through Deception Pass  (The variation without the exists in many places, including
1920'Black Ball brochures.)

Willapa--from a now extinct tribe of Native Americans; meaning now lost

Wollochet--squirting clams

Yakima--to become peopled; black bears; "people of the narrow river"