I'm not surprised that the Washington State Transportation Commission is considering selling company naming rights for our state's ferries. The Washington State Ferries are a bazillion dollars in debt, and they are in dire need of some e-z cash. And their 2.5 percent across the board fare increase that goes into effect on Oct. 11, 2009 isn't going to make a very big dent.
As a Whidbey Islander who has spent a good chunk 'o change and time riding the ferry between Mukilteo and Clinton for 34 years, I find the naming-rights proposal pretty ridiculous. And as with most announcements about our state ferries, absolutely hilarious. OK, they don't necessarily want to change the names of the boats — most of them are derived from tribal names. They're merely looking for corporate sponsors, which means defacing the pristine green and white exteriors of the nation's largest ferry fleet.
Here are the vessels currently in service, along with my picks for new names and sponsors.
OLD: Cathlamet. NEW: Keep Clam (Ivar's)
OLD: Chelan. NEW: The Lazy B (Boeing)
OLD: Elwha. NEW: Vino on the Rocks (Chateau Ste. Michelle)
OLD: Hyak. NEW: Rebate (REI)
OLD: Issaquah. NEW: We Do Windows (Microsoft)
OLD: Kaleetan. NEW: Big Box (Costco)
OLD: Kitsap. NEW: E-Z Return (Nordstrom)
OLD: Kittitas. NEW: Foreclosure (US Bank)
OLD: Puyallup. NEW: Do the Puyallup (Western Washington State Fair)
OLD: Rhododendron. NEW: Louie, Louie (Experience Music Project)
OLD: Sealth. NEW: Why Bother? (Starbucks)
OLD: Spokane. NEW: Spokealoo (The Spokesman Review)
OLD: Steilacoom II. NEW: Sea Roaster (Starbucks)
OLD:Tacoma. NEW: Chihuly (Museum of Glass)
OLD: Tillikum. NEW: Lusty Lady (Seattle Art Museum)
OLD: Wenatchee. NEW: The Juicer (Tree Top)
OLD: Yakima. NEW: Lights Out (Puget Sound Energy)
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