Ferry Nisqually collides with Chinese freighter on July 27, 1963.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 3/04/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3048

On July 27, 1963, at 6:53 a.m., the ferry Nisqually collides with the 10,000-ton Chinese freighter Taichung in fog near Kingston. (Kingston is on the Kitsap Peninsula due west of the King/Snohomish County border.) The bow of the freighter rips a V-shaped gash in the port side of the ferry running from three feet above the waterline up into the dining area on the upper deck.

The Nisqually was only seven minutes out of Kingston with only five cars and fewer than a dozen passengers aboard when the accident occurred. Captain Ted Boyes heard the freighter whistling in the fog and watched its position on the radar.

As the Taichung drew closer, Boyes stopped the Nisqually. As soon as he ordered the stop, he heard the freighter blast the whistle three times, indicating that the vessel was reversing its engines. Boyes put the Nisqually into a hard right turn, but to no avail.

When coffee-drinking passengers in the upper deck dining area heard the whistles, they dove from the tables. No sooner had they done so, when the bow of the freighter ripped into the side of the ferry. No one was injured, but the ferry was out of commission with close to $100,000 in damage.

The ferry Klahanie was sent to Edmonds to replace the Nisqually while she was towed away for repairs. The Kehloken and the San Mateo were put into service on the Kingston-Edmonds run for the next few weeks.


"Ferry Nisqually Hit, Damaged by Freighter in Heavy Fog," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 28, 1963, p. 1, 3; "Ferry Nisqually, Chinese Ship Collide off Kingston," The Seattle Times July 27, 1963, p. 1.

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