The ferry Suquamish leaving Mukilteo. The next ferry for the Whidbey Island route, Wishkah, will be of the same class but will be hybrid-electric. (SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons)

The ferry Suquamish leaving Mukilteo. The next ferry for the Whidbey Island route, Wishkah, will be of the same class but will be hybrid-electric. (SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons)

Mukilteo’s next ferry, a hybrid-electric, will be called Wishkah

The name has ties to indigenous culture and a Nirvana album. In English, it means “stinking water.”

MUKILTEO — A ferry set to sail on the Whidbey Island route in 2025 is more than wishful thinking.

The next state ferry baby is named Wishkah.

Wishkah will be the state’s first hybrid-electric ferry and comes with a sticker price of $147 million. It’s to be the green-and-white workhorse on the busy route that connects Mukilteo on the mainland and Whidbey. With dock chargers, the ferry could be recharged between trips.

The 144-car vessel is an Olympic-class cousin to the Suquamish, the latest addition to the ferry family. The Suquamish launched in 2018 and mainly serves the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

The name Wishkah was chosen unanimously by transportation commission officials this week for the vessel not even under construction.

Wishkah has ties to the state’s indigenous culture and, on a side note, to pop culture.

The name, which honors the river of the ancestral Chehalis people and flows through Aberdeen, was on the 1996 Nirvana album “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.”

“The literal meaning if you translate it to English is ‘stinking water,’” said Ian Sterling, Washington State Ferries spokesperson.

Construction is planned to begin in 2022. “It takes about three years to build a ferry,” Sterling said.

The ferry name game started in the summer with public input and had to pass muster from officials. After much scrutiny, six finalists were selected. Others were Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie, Stehekin, Muckleshoot and Enie Marie, great-granddaughter of Chief Sealth.

All 21 current ferries have names derived from Native American words or places: Puyallup, Tacoma, Wenatchee, Spokane, Walla Walla, Kaleetan, Yakima, Chimacum, Samish, Suquamish, Tokitae, Cathlamet, Chelan, Issaquah, Kitsap, Kittitas, Sealth, Tillikum, Chetzemoka, Kennewick and Salish.

Wishkah won in a 7-0 vote by commissioners.

“It is a multi-faceted name that represents a geographic area in the state that does not have a ferry named for it,” Commissioner Debbie Young said in a news release. The Quinault, named for a lake and river that’s home to the coastal Quinault Indian Nation, was retired in 2009.

Wishkah Street is a segment of Highway 101 in Aberdeen, home of the founder of grunge-rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain.

Wishkah was the most popular name in a fall ferry survey that drew more than 5,800 responses online.

Names such as D.B. Cooper, Pete Carroll and the Always Late did not make the cut. Nor did Boaty McBoatface.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett
Man hurt in house fire east of Everett

The home in the 12400 block of 51st Avenue SE was reported on fire at 12:54 a.m.

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, right, a Democrat, and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, running as a nonpartisan, take part in a debate, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Olympia, Wash., with Melissa Santos, center, of Axios Local, moderating. Hobbs and Anderson are seeking to fill the remaining two years of the term of Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who left to take a key election security job in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sparks fly as Hobbs, Anderson face off in secretary of state debate

Julie Anderson called Steve Hobbs an “inexperienced political appointee.” He’s been in the job since Inslee put him there in November.

Zion Wright, 6, makes a face as Cecilia Guidarrama starts to massage cold facial cleanser onto his face during Evergreen Beauty College’s annual back-to-school beauty event on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of kids get free back-to-school haircuts in Everett

For hours on Wednesday, training beauticians pampered families at the Everett campus of Evergreen Beauty College.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar appears in court via video for arraignment Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prosecutors: ‘Danger’ shot man in head ‘without provocation or warning’

Jose Espinoza Aguilar had just been released from prison in May for another shooting. He now faces charges of first-degree assault.

Most Read