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Ferry Kalakala rams new Seattle Ferry Terminal on February 21, 1966.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3045 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 21, 1966, at 6:45 a.m., the ferry Kalakala slams into the new Washington State Ferry terminal at the foot of Marion Street causing $80,000 worth of damage. Although the new slip needs to be completely dismantled and rebuilt, the ferry undergoes repairs and is back in service the next day.

As the Kalakala was returning to Seattle from Bremerton, she came in too fast and couldn't reverse in time. Crewmembers alerted passengers, and got the occupants in the first two cars out of harm's way. No one was injured, but the two cars suffered damage and a large gash was carved into the vessel's steel housing.

Not New For Long

The new $3 million dollar terminal, and headquarters for the state fleet, had only been in operation for a few days. When the Kalakala plowed into the south slip, two concrete towers set on eight steel H-beam pilings cracked and bent. A cross structure of a moveable bridge, used to compensate for tidal changes, was torn loose. The ferry glanced inward into the apron and bridge, causing the gash in her superstructure.

Damage to the ferry looked worse than it was. Although the apron crunched the port side of the mouth of the ferry, it was repaired overnight without removing the Kalakala from service. Total cost of repairs to the vessel was about $2,000.

The $80,000 repair to the slip took two months to complete. In the meantime, the north slip and the auxiliary slip handled all ferry traffic into and out of Seattle.

"Kalakala Rams News Slip; Damage High," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 22, 1966, p. 3; "Ferry Rams, Damages New Landing Slip," The Seattle Times February 21, 1966, p. 1.

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Special Suite: Washington State Ferries |

Related Topics: Maritime |

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Seattle Times cartoon, February 22, 1966, the day after the Kalakala rammed Colman Dock
Courtesy The Seattle Times

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