The Former Washington State Ferry Rhododendron

by John MacFarlane 2017

Ferry and Barge

The Rhododendron and a laid up accommodation barge in Fanny Bay BC. (Photo from the Lynn Salmon collection. )

Dan and Lynn Salmon live on the central east coast of Vancouver Island. It is not uncommon for them to encounter interesting vessels when they are cruising in their boat or exploring the shoreline. In 2013, in Fanny Bay (to the south of where they live), they saw a retired Washington State Ferry, the Rhododendron, at anchor in company with what appears to be an accommodation barge. They share their pictures here for interest.


Rhododendron (Photo from the Salmon collection.)

ON251646 217.9’ x 60.0’ x 12.4’ 937gt 425nt Call sign WB6079. In 1947 she was built as the Governor Herbert R. O’Conner by Maryland Drydock Co. at Baltimore Maryland and operated as a Chesapeake Bay ferry. In 1947–1951, named after Governor Herbert R. O’Conner she was owned by Claiborne–Annapolis Ferry Company. She was renamed as the Rhododendron (after the Washington State flower). In 1951–2011 she was owned by Washington State Ferries, State of Washington, Olympia WA USA. She was retired in January 2012 and was sold in February 2013 to the Atlantic Cape Fisheries Inc., Cape May, NJ USA.

On February 26, 2013, she was sold to Island Scallops Ltd. a subsidiary of Atlantic Capes Fisheries. Island Scallops plans to use the Rhododendron as a support vessel and have stated that they will remove her engines. We presume that this has been completed.

Island Scallops Ltd. operate scallop farms on Vancouver Island near Fanny Bay, British Columbia. They describe themselves as "Canada’s largest private marine research hatchery and first fully–integrated shellfish producer. The Company has pioneered scallop culture in BC since 1989, and has developed the premium hybrid "Pacific Scallop" for farming in local waters." There are a number of shellfish and fish aquaculture operations on the east coast of Vancouver Island.


The Rhododendron in 2015 (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)


The Rhododendron in 2015 (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Former Washington State Ferry Rhododendron. 2017.

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