The City of Des Moines has announced the introduction of a two month pilot project to test the viability of a passenger only fast ferry between the Des Moines Marina and Downtown Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina.

Service is scheduled to start Wednesday August 10th, and run through Sunday, October 9th aboard the Chilkat Express, chartered from and run by Puget Sound Express. Initially the boat will make four trips a day, Wednesday through Sunday. Transit time is 40 minutes each way.

The vessel will depart Des Moines Marina at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm. Southbound trips will depart Seattle at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. The boat will overnight in Des Moines.

Service will be free over the first week (August 10-15). Subsequently, the fare will be $10 each way. Seniors and active military will pay $5 each way and children 13 and under ride free.

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 8am and leaving Seattle at 9am.

The City of Des Moines is partnering with the Highline School District 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.

Visit to learn more.


Q: Do I need to make a reservation?
A: No. Tickets can be purchased at time of boarding with cash, debit or credit card. No checks accepted.

Q: Is the ferry wheelchair accessible?
A: Yes. The boat is wheelchair accessible as are ramps to and from the dock to the boat.

Q: Are bicycles permitted?
A: There is no accommodation for bicycles currently, but the seating arrangement can be adapted if demand warrants it.

Q: Is their food service on the boat?
A: Yes. Food and beverages are available for purchase onboard.

Q: Does the Des Moines Fast Ferry run all year?
A: No. The ferry is service is seasonal and ends mid-October and resumes in the Spring.