Nichols Brothers Builds New McNeil Island Ferry
Amid a festive celebration, the new McNeil Island ferry (shown above), built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Inc. of Whidbey Island, Wash., was christened recently at the Nicbols dock on Whidbey Island. The new ferry was built, only after years of using surplus vessels to ferry passengers and cargo back and forth to the facility on McNeil Island.
The State of Washington contracted Nichols Brothers, who were the low bidders on the design and construction of the boat which measures 68-feet by 25-feet and uses a five-foot draft. The monohulled vessel, which is presently in full service at the corrections facility, is equipped with two Detroit Diesel 8V-71 engines which allow a cruise speed of about 12 knots with a full load of 300 passengers and cargo.
Although built on a "bare-bones budget" for the state without any of the niceties Nichols has normally outfitted their passenger vessels with, the McNeil Island ferry is quite attractive, sporting large blue tinted windows and decorative stripping—a rather cheery site along the prison,