FALMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - The Steamship Authority is allowing the public to help name the two offshore vessels that will join its fleet and begin operating in the summer of 2023.

The Steamship Authority is requesting ferry names that embody the “local flavor and/or maritime history” of Cape Cod and the Islands by Monday, September 25 at 11:59 p.m. via the contest website for a chance to win one of two $250 SSA gift cards. There is no entry fee for submissions.

The sister ships, formerly used to service the oil and gas industry off the Gulf Coast, are set to replace the open-deck freight vessels M/V Gay Head and M/V Katama. A recent study commissioned by the Steamship Authority identified the two freight vessels as having an expected useful life of fewer than five years. The two recently acquired ships have an estimated remaining useful life of at least 25 years.

“The purchase and conversion of available OSVs is the most efficient, rapid and cost-effective path to upgrade our fleet and best serve the vehicle and freight transport needs of island residents and visitors,” said Steamship Authority General Manager Robert B. Davis. “The similar design of the vessels also promotes economies of scale through interchangeability of vessels for service needs, inventory of spare parts and crew training. Additionally, purchasing these used vessels will put the Authority in a better financial transition to plan for investigate the possible inclusion of alternative fuel technologies into its next newly constructed vessel.”

All entries will be reviewed by the Authority’s Senior Management Team. A slate of vessel names will also be shared at the Authority’s Port Council meeting on Tuesday, September 12. The suggested vessel names will then be presented to the Authority Board for a vote on Tuesday, September 27, during its regularly scheduled meeting. The contest will not be reopened if the Board elects not to vote at that meeting.

The first of the newly acquired vessels is expected to be operating on Steamship Authority routes to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket by summer 2023 following design and engineering work for conversion and reactivation.

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