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Carlisle II
Carlisle II departing from Port Orchard, October 2010.
Carlisle II departing Port Orchard, Washington, October 2010
Career (United States)
Name: Carlisle II
Owner: Kitsap Transit
Operator: Kitsap Harbor Tours
Route: Bremerton-Port Orchard, Washington
Builder: O. I. Thorsen
Launched: April 9, 1917
  • Official Number: 214872
  • Callsign: WDB7545
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Tonnage: 95 Gross, 86 Net
Length: 65 ft (20 m) on deck
Beam: 20 feet (6.1 m)
Depth: 5.7 feet (1.7 m)
Installed power: 300 hp (220 kW) John Deere
Propulsion: Propeller
Capacity: 143 Persons
Notes: Wood Hull
Carlisle II
Carlisle II dockside

Carlisle II is the oldest of only two operational examples of a Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet vessel. (The other is the 1922 Steamship Virginia V.) They were once part of a large fleet of small passenger and freight carrying ships that linked the islands and ports of Puget Sound in Washington state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Carlisle II in 1919
Carlisle II entry from Pacific Fisherman Yearbook 1919

Carlisle II was built in Bellingham in 1917 by Lummi Island Navigation Company, and first carried freight and passengers between Bellingham and the Carlisle Packing Company’s salmon cannery on Lummi Island. Original power was from a Fairbanks-Morse Type "C-O" Heavy Duty Marine Oil Engine. It was a three-cylinder hot bulb (or "semi-diesel") engine rated 75 horsepower at 340 RPM.

In 1923 she was rebuilt as a car ferry and ran from Gooseberry Point to Lummi and Orcas islands.

Horluck Transportation Co., under Captain Willis Nearhoff, purchased Carlisle II in 1936 and converted her back to passenger vessel use for the short run between Bremerton and Port Orchard across Sinclair Inlet. The service was heavily used during the war years by personnel commuting to and from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. Eventually Mr. Nearhoff's daughter, Mary Lieske, became manager and then owner of the company. She was also reportedly the first woman ferry captain.

Seattle businessman Hilton Smith bought out Horluck in 1995 and invested almost $300,000 in repairs and upgrades to Carlisle II. In 2008, Kitsap Transit purchased Carlisle II from Smith and continues to use her as needed on the Bremerton-Port Orchard run.

Current Status

Signboard mounted inside Carlisle II designating her a "Floating Museum"

Carlisle II is still in operation today, offering regularly scheduled foot passenger service between Bremerton and Port Orchard, Washington.

Carlisle II has been designated a "Floating Museum" by the Washington Commission for the Humanities, and her interior is decorated with numerous photos and information about her and other Mosquito Fleet vessels.


  • Kitsap County Historical Society, Port Orchard (Images of America), Arcadia Publishing, 2012, page 112, ISBN: 0738589225
  • Follansbee, Joe, The Fyddeye Guide to America's Maritime History, Fyddeye (Publisher), 2010, page 68, ISBN: 0615381537
  • Neal, Carolyn, and Janus, Thomas Kilday, Puget Sound Ferries, American Historical Press, 2001, pages 59, 80 ISBN: 1-892724-19-7
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