Seattle-Bremerton Ferry

Seattle, Washington | C.1951

Photo Credit: Mary Shannon Cella

The Seattle-Bremerton ferry is a ferry route across the Puget Sound between Seattle and Bremerton, Washington. Since 1951, the route has primarily been operated by the state-run Washington State Ferries system, currently the largest ferry system in the United States. Kitsap Transit also runs a passenger-only “”fast ferries”” service on the route.

The Seattle-Bremerton ferry route was once called the “”Navy Yard route””, as it was originally served by steamships and steamboats, such as the ‘Inland Flyer’ – a popular passenger steamboat that ran on Puget Sound from 1898 to 1916.

The sternwheeler ‘Bailey Gatzert’, once considered one of the most prestigious vessels to operate on Puget Sound, was converted to an automobile ferry and as such became the first ferry to run on the Seattle-Bremerton route. Another vessel to run on the route was the unique “”streamlined”” ferry Kalakala that was notable for its unique streamlined superstructure, art deco styling, and luxurious amenities.

From 1986 to 2002, Washington State Ferries operated passenger-only service on the Bremerton route using specialized high-speed boats. After the service was cancelled, Kitsap Transit contracted with private companies to operate a similar service for several years, and later debuted its own service in July 2017.

Today the ferry runs at regular intervals, however the record for the fastest crossing that was set in the mid-1970s has yet to be beat. According to records, the fastest crossing from Bremerton to Seattle was set by the then-new Walla Walla vessel at a speedy 43 minutes. According to the current Port Captain, the fastest possible time with current vessels, is about 53 minutes if the currents, weather, and waves are favorable.

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