MV Cathlamet

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The MV Cathlamet, arriving at Mukilteo.
Name: MV Cathlamet
Owner: WSDOT
Operator: Washington State Ferries
Port of registry: Seattle, Washington,  United States
Builder: Marine Power and Equpiment, Seattle
Completed: 1981
Refit: 1991
Identification: Official Number: 636551
Call Sign:WYR7641[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Issaquah 130 Class auto/passenger ferry
Length: 328 ft (100.0 m)
Beam: 78 ft 8 in (24.0 m)
Draft: 16 ft 6 in (5.0 m)
Deck clearance: 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m)
Installed power: Total 5,000 hp from 2 diesel engines
Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Capacity: 1200 passengers
124 vehicles (max 26 commercial)[2]

The MV Cathlamet is an Issaquah 130 Class ferry operated by Washington State Ferries.


The Cathlamet was built in 1981, as an Issaquah Class ferry, for service on the Seattle-Bremerton Route. However its capacity was shortly reached and it was moved to the Mukilteo-Clinton route in the late 1980s. In 1991, in order to keep up with growing demand, the Cathlamet, along with many of her sister ships were upgraded from Issaquah Class to Issaquah 130 Class ferries, by adding additional vehicle areas above the vehicle areas along the outside edge of the ferry. These upgrades had been planned for in the original design of the vessels. The ferry's passenger cabin was updated in the late 90's, included in the upgrades were the removal of many tables located in the passenger cabin to allow for the bench seats to be spaced closer together in some sections of the ship, the galley area was also upgraded, and the distinctive tiles, in which each ship had its own color scheme on the tiles, were removed and each ship was given a unifying look. Also, considering the environment the ships were built in, many finishing touches were omitted when the ships were built, most of these were restored during this and subsequent facelifts that occurred throughout the 2000s.


The Cathlamet is infamous in Puget Sound as it has on several occasions struck ferry docks while attempting to dock. The problem was eventually traced to the computer that controls the pitch of the props, which because of a large amount of unshielded wiring, would short out a couple of signal lines causing the props to re-angle for full propulsion, instead of reversing. The computer system was eventually replaced in the early 2000s, and since then, the Cathlamet has not smashed another dock.


As of August 2009, she is serving the Mukilteo-Clinton route [3].


  1. The Issaquahs today, part 2,
  2. Vessel information, WSF, WSDOT
  3. Route information, WSF, WSDOT