New ferry Oscar B ready to enter service in Washington


The following is the text of a news release from Elliott Bay Design Group:

(SEATTLE) — Construction of the M/V Oscar B, a vessel designed by Seattle's Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), has been completed. The steel-hulled, aluminum superstructure vessel was built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for Wahkiakum County as a replacement for the ferry Wahkiakum.  

The Oscar B is a 115-by-47.6-foot, 23‐car, 100-passenger ferry. It is named after the late Oscar Bergseng, who skippered the Wahkiakum for 17 years. The vessel, currently underway toward Astoria from Whidbey Island where it underwent sea trials, will run between ferry terminals in Cathlamet, Wash., and Westport, Ore. It is slated to be delivered this week.

"We're proud to play a role in helping provide this vital transportation link for the communities of Cathlamet and Westport," said EBDG project manager Curt Leffers.

The new M/V Oscar B is nearly twice the size of its predecessor, which held 12 passenger cars. Designed to operate at 8 knots, the Oscar B is powered by two state-of-the-art Cummins QLS diesels, each delivering 285 hp at 1,800 rpm and coupled to ZF Marine reversing reduction gears with two fixed‐pitched propellers.  

In addition to its expanded vehicle capacity, the Oscar B offers hydraulic steering instead of cable and chain steering, up-to-date electronics, a passenger lounge and ADA-accessible restrooms. The vessel meets current U.S. Coast Guard requirements.
Pete Ringen, director and county engineer for Wahkiakum County Public Works, said, “While we don’t know what the future holds, with the expertise of Elliott Bay Design Group, and great craftsmanship of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders/Ice Floe, we have helped secure the possibilities.”

EBDG's 26-year history includes work on some of the iconic ferries of the Pacific Northwest, completing projects for Whatcom, Pierce and Skagit counties and Washington State Ferries. Nationally, EBDG supports ferry operators in Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Alaska, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. 

By Professional Mariner Staff