The high speed ferry “Billie J,” – scheduled to service the Des Moines to Seattle route starting this week – has experienced a “catastrophic mechanical failure” while underway to Des Moines from San Francisco, and has therefore been canceled, the city announced on Friday, June 16, 2023.

The city said that the expected repair time is approximately 12 weeks, and due to this lengthy delay, and the unavailability of any alternate vessels, which have already been committed to other routes, “the City will be unable to provide ferry service for our community this summer.”

Chartered from and run by Goprop, the boat was scheduled to make five trips a day, Tuesday through Sunday. Transit time would’ve been 40 minutes each way.

The city adds that the ferry owner was responsible for “providing the vessel in a timely manner and in good condition.”

“We are all truly disappointed this was not possible.”

Built in 2008 as a passenger ferry for the All American Marine in Bellingham, the Billie J “is an efficient, quiet and smooth-running hydrofoil powered by quad waterjets,” according to the city’s website. She had a cruising speed of 40 knots.

“We appreciate the support of King County Water Taxi who was providing the dock in Seattle and our developing relationship with Maritime High School to provide an Ambassador/Intem program for Maritime High School students to participate in the ferry operations. We will keep these partnerships in place for future ferry service.”

The city added:

“High-speed passenger ferry service has proven to be a very innovative, multi-modal transportation option for our City.

This situation, disappointing as it is, in no way impedes our commitment and enthusiasm to provide passenger ferry service in the future.”