One of the two 144-car ferries under construction will be named Tokitae. The Washington State Transportation Commission selected the name after it was submitted by Orca Network along with a petition bearing 1,368 signatures.
According to the Commission's website:
Meaning/Significance: “Tokitae” is a Coast Salish greeting meaning “Nice day, pretty colors”, and is also the name given to an orca captured at Penn Cove, near Keystone, in 1970. Tokitae was brought to a marine park in Miami 40 years ago, where she was put into service as an entertainer, and named Lolita. She is the last survivor of the 45 Southern Resident orcas captured in WA state during the capture era of the 1960s and 70s. Such captures were later banned in Washington State waters in 1976.
Deb Lund, a Whidbey Island author of children's books, first suggested the name Tokitae for one of the new Washington State Ferries in 2010.
The criteria are:
Names should carry statewide significance and represent our state’s image and culture.
Specifically, names should represent such things as state-adopted symbols, tribal names, names of bodies of water, geographic locations, cities, counties, or relate to nautical heritage.
Consideration will be given to the consistency with existing WSF fleet names.
Names should have broad familiarity, are non‐offensive, and meet ethical standards.
Names with commercial overtones or names honoring or commemorating individuals should be avoided, but will be considered upon careful review.
WSF PHOTOS of the construction of Tokitae.