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WWU students help design new Kitsap ferry

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Ferry commuters on the Seattle-Bremerton run may have a new boat this spring, designed in part by WWU students.

WWU Engineering Technology students collaborated with All American Marine in Bellingham to help design a lightweight hydrofoil for a Kitsap Transit ferry now in production. The hydrofoil is a T-shaped wing mounted to the hull of the ferry, producing lift and raising the boat’s hull to reduce drag and increase speed.

“Our goal is to cut the weight of the hydrofoil in half by using new composite materials that are lighter and stiffer than aluminum or stainless steel, which will increase efficiency and decrease fuel costs,” says Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology Nicole Larson, who leads the student team.

The students finished the project this summer with the help of a $25,000 grant from All American Marine and a $100,000 grant from Pacific International Engineering.

“This is the kind of research that our students take with them from the classroom into their careers,” said Larson. “It’s invaluable in that way, so we’ll keep pushing to do more collaborative work like this in the future.”