When Kitsap Transit established the Kingston Fast Ferry to Seattle in 2018, residents were delighted to be able to travel to Seattle in just 40 minutes. This passenger-only vessel dramatically reduced commute times. It also invited Seattleites to easily explore Kingston and the surrounding area. But many people aren’t aware of the Fast Ferry’s interesting history, specifically the history of the Finest. So, we wanted to illuminate it.
The Incredible History of the Finest
Originally from New York, the Finest was purchased in January 2018 from New York Waterway. During 9/11, the Finest, along with many other vessels, rescued hundreds of thousands of people. This event is known as “The Great Boatlift.” The Finest was part of a maritime fleet that came together, sailing toward the destruction of the Twin Towers to help terrified, soot-covered people.
After almost nine hours of back and forth trips, these ferries, ships, and private boats collectively evacuated nearly 500,000 people. The Finest is named that after New York City’s finest. To travel on the Finest is to travel on a piece of history, a vessel that reminds us of a moment when people came together to help one another.
Becoming a Kitsap Fast Ferry
Over the years, the Finest had been run hard, so when Kitsap Transit purchased her, she needed significant rebuilding and repairs. She traveled from New York down through the Panama Canal, up the Pacific Coast to Victoria. Then Nichols Brothers Boat Builders refurbished her on Whidbey Island. Kitsap Transit invested over $5.9 million in the Finest in preparation for the Kingston-Seattle route. You can learn more about her journey in Kitsap Transit’s interesting video below.
Small Town Living with Fast Ferry Convenience
Thanks in part to the Finest, more people are now eyeing the Kingston area as a place to live. Many are drawn to our community’s small-town charm and its proximity to Seattle. Nearby Hansville, Port Gamble, Indianola, Suquamish, and Poulsbo also offer a slower-paced life. Commuters enjoy a swift ride on the Finest to downtown Seattle with gorgeous views of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. While aboard, keep an eye out for seals and even orcas. Living in the Kingston area while working in Seattle combines the best of both worlds.
We love all that our area offers and we’re proud of historical gems like the Finest.