PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

April 26, 2010

Proposed US Ferry Wake Tests in Plumper Sound?

Filed under: Nautical bits — Jocko @ 8:24 pm


Plumper Sound (photo:Richard Fox)

From the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney, B.C.

What’s  going  on?

•  A  new  24  meter  (78′)  high-speed  catamaran,  foil  assisted,  passenger  ferry  has   been  built  for  service  on  the  Seattle  –   Bremerton  run  in  Puget  Sound  by  the  Kitsap  Transit  authority.

•  Earlier  efforts  to  introduce  such  a  service  with  a  different  ferry  were  thwarted  by   a  law  suit  that  awarded  damages  to  property  owners  on  the  ferry  route  (in  Rich  Passage)  where  the  ferry  wake  caused  shoreline  damage.

•  Before  the  new  ferry  can  be  placed  in  service  in  the  US,  vessel  performance  tests   must  be  conducted  to  verify  simulation  test  results  and  fine  tune  the  vessel   control  systems  with  a  particular  focus  in  the  wake  output  of  the  vessel.

•  Golder  and  Associates  (Victoria  office)  is  a  consultant  to  the  project  and   they  have  recommended  Plumper  Sound  between  Saturna  and  the  Pender   Islands  as  the  ideal  location  for  the  1.5  nautical  mile  test  site.

What  do  the  tests  involve?

•  The  tests  are  planned  to  begin  on  May  25,  2010  and  run  over  a  period  of  30   days.

•  The  vessel  will  be  tested  at  speeds  up  to  40  knots  (74  km/hr)  with  a  variety  of   loads  and  control  settings.

•  Because  of  the  variability  needed  in  the  test  specifications  at  least  390  test  runs   are  planned  over  the  30  day  period.

•  Additional  runs  will  be  required  if  a  test  run  is  aborted  due  to  vessel  traffic,  wake   interference  from  other  boats,  wildlife  interactions  or  test  equipment  failure.

•  Four  monitoring  equipment  stations  will  be  anchored  to  the  seafloor  in  various   positions  along  the  1.5  nautical  mile  length  of  the  test  track.

•  Each  of  the  units  emits  four  high  frequency  underwater  acoustic  signals  to   measure  wave  action  as  the  test  vessel  passes  by  at  various  speeds.  No   information  on  the  possible  impact  of  these  sounds  on  marine  life  is  provided.

•  It  is  predicted  that  the  vessel  will  emit  sound  in  the  range  of  70  dBA  at  1,000  feet   on  the  surface.

•  No  information  has  been  provided  regarding  the  underwater  acoustic  output  of   the  vessel  at  test  speeds.

The full media release from the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre can be downloaded here:  waketests.pdf

Full  details  of  the  Golder  proposal  as  presented  to  the  Islands  Trust  can  be  viewed  at:

May 31, 2010 letter to Golder Associates can be viewed here:  31-may-10letter.pdf

For more information about our local waters and marine wildlife visit the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre: located in Sidney, B.C.

1 Comment »

  1. The media release from the Shaw Discovery Centre makes good sense, suggesting Nanoose Bay as an alternative. I don’t appreciate how the Canadian consultants from Victoria could agree to gloss over the potential impact to our endangered resident orcas. The tests should be done along the actual route in the US, although the consultants were probably under pressure by the client to find a solution to the timing dilemma presented by US regulations, and were also probably afraid of lawsuits in the US by shoreline residents. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first draft of the proposal contained more mention of the potential damages to orcas and the client forced them to remove it, but one never knows. Here’s hoping the Island’s Trust acts in the best interest of our beloved orcas and other species. And thanks Jocko for using the color version of my photo of Plumper Sound (Book’s p145, Hike #19). That’s my nephew enjoying the sublime vista and he would be appalled by the proposed project.

    Comment by Richard Fox — April 28, 2010 @ 10:06 am

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