Seattle City Light Testing New Skagit Tours Boat, Alice Ross IV

Testing the Alice Ross IV on Padilla Bay.

Construction is complete on Seattle City Light’s new tour boat, the Alice Ross IV, and sea trials are underway to test the boat before it begins service for Skagit Tours on Diablo Lake this summer.

City Light is replacing the Alice Ross III, which spent years providing Skagit Tours visitors rides across Diablo Lake. The new boat was built by Rozema Boat Works in Mt. Vernon.

The new boat is 55 feet long with a 16-foot beam. It has a rated capacity of 49 passengers and crew and is Americans with Disabilities Act accessible. The cabin uses as much glass as possible, including in the roof, to allow for the best outward visibility possible. A heating and air conditioning system, as well as an onboard head, will increase passenger comfort over the previous boats. The heating and cooling system has the capability to be powered from shore while docked, so the boat can be warmed or cooled before a tour without the need to run the engines.

A 14-foot open aft deck also allows for passengers to enjoy the tour from outside. The boat is powered by twin 500 hp John Deere diesel engines, which turn Hamilton jet drives.

This is the fourth tour boat named for Alice Ross, the wife of City Light’s second superintendent.

The Alice Ross IV was launched Dec. 30 on Padilla Bay, east of Anacortes, for its trial runs.

“It was a very cold, but beautiful, day with calm water, perfect for our first tests of the boat,” Sr. Capital Project Manager Josh Jackson said. “Overall the boat performed really well.  It’s smooth and has plenty of power, while still being relatively quiet.  We were able to get up to about 28 knots at full RPM. The target is 12 at cruising RPM — no problem.”

Testing will continue all week, including engine tuning and a visit from Washington State Labor and Industries representatives to witness the stability tests.

This is the fourth Skagit Tours boat to be named for the wife of City Light’s second superintendent, J.D. Ross, who led the development of the Skagit Hydroelectric Project. J.D. Ross is often referred to as the father of Seattle City Light.