December 10, 2020 by Nichols Boats

NBBB Delivers Kitsap Transit's ENETAI

FREELAND, Wash. -- Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) has delivered the first of two 255-passenger-only ferries to Kitsap Transit of Bremerton, Washington. The ENETAI out-performed design expectations during vessel trials, delivering to Kitsap Transit; a lighter, faster, and smoother riding vessel.

Kitsap Transit awarded a design and construction contract to Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for two new ferries in December 2018. NBBB partnered with BMT of Southampton, UK for vessel design.

Kitsap Transit’s design requirements included: a bow-loading configuration to utilize Washington State Ferries (WSF) existing downtown Seattle Coleman dock. Speed requirements of a minimum 35-knot cruising speed to allow for efficient route scheduling not to interfere with WSF’s existing schedule. Plus, passenger comfort and amenities are a priority for Kitsap Transit and their passengers.

During vessel trials the ENETAI exceeded 40 knots, bettering the speed expectations by 3-knots bringing up the ENETAI’s cruising speed to 38 knots at full load. The Naiad active ride control system ensured a smooth comfortable ride at the high-speed. The vessel displays nimble maneuverability and superior responsiveness owing to its latest generation of waterjet drives and design emphasis on lightweight construction. 

In addition to the 255-passenger capacity, the vessel accommodates 26 bicycles, a must for Seattle commuters. Leisure and commuting passengers alike will appreciate the onboard amenities; an advanced heating and air conditioning system will keep passenger areas warm in the winter and cool in the summer, all seats contain a USB outlet and charging station, and the vessel is equipped with high-speed wifi connectivity.

The ENETAI, a 140’ x 37’ x 12’ aluminum high-speed catamaran was built to USCG subchapter K regulations. It is among the first ferries to feature a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system powered by two MTU Tier IV 16V400M65L main engines each putting out 3435 HP @ 1,800rpm, through ZF 9050 gears, turning Kamewa S71-4 waterjets, reaching 38 knots at full load. 

“Kitsap Transit has been excellent to work with, their dedication to the development of the waterway system here in Puget Sound is not only greatly needed, but also valued by all who live in the surrounding Seattle area,” said Gavin Higgins, NBBB’s CEO. “NBBB has built over 50 high-speed catamarans for the United States, it is rewarding to see another NBBB ferry right here in our region, with a second to follow in a few short months.” 

The second 255-passenger only ferry for Kitsap Transit is under construction at NBBB’s Freeland, WA facility with expected delivery early 2021. In addition to the Kitsap Transit ferries; NBBB has two new 100’ x 40’ tractor tugs under construction for Foss Maritime, and is completing a major rebuild of Golden Gate Ferry’s SONOMA.  NBBB’s portfolio can be viewed on the web at

Check out NBBB’s sneak peek video of the ENETAI here