The City of Des Moines’ two-month pilot passenger ferry project will launch from the Des Moines Marina on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, and travel roundtrip to Downtown Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina four times per day.

Service is scheduled to continue through Sunday, Oct. 9 aboard the Chilkat Express, chartered from and run by Puget Sound Express.

Initially, the boat will make four trips per day, Wednesday through Sunday.

Transit time is 40 minutes each way.

Service will be FREE for the first week (Aug. 10-15), then will increase to $10 each way. Seniors and active military will pay $5 each way and children 13 and under will ride free.

The vessel will depart the Des Moines Marina at the following times:

    • 10 a.m.
    • Noon
    • 2 p.m.
    • 4 p.m.

Southbound trips will depart Seattle at:

    • 11 a.m.
    • 1 p.m.
    • 3 p.m.
    • 5 p.m.

The boat will overnight in Des Moines.

The Chilkat Express is wheelchair accessible as are the docks at both terminals.

Availability of crew currently limits service to 10 hours a day, but if demand warrants and additional crew can be hired, an additional round trip may be added leaving Des Moines at 8 a.m. and leaving Seattle at 9 a.m.

The City of Des Moines is partnering with Highline Public Schools to provide deckhands to work alongside trained crew. The paid internships give students exposure to the maritime industry, and they will gain sea time credit which they can use to further their training.

Built in 2001 as a passenger ferry for the Alaska market, the Chilkat Express is an efficient, quiet and smooth-running hydrofoil powered by twin waterjets. She has a cruising speed of 40 knots.

The Chilkat Expres is owned and operated by Puget Sound Express, which has been operating passenger ferries and tour boats on the Puget Sound since 1985. Puget Sound Express is a third-generation family-run business founded in 1985. They currently operate whale watching tours out of 3 locations, totaling 7 departures per day.

More info here:

The Des Moines Marina is located at 22307 Dock Ave South: