Orca Network has 1,099 names on its petition to name a ferry "Tokitae". Their goal is to garner 1,500 names before submitting the petition to the Washington State Transportation Commission for consideration as a name for one of the two 144 car ferries under construction.
"Tokitae", a Coast Salish greeting meaning "Nice day, pretty colors", is also the name given to an L pod orca captured at Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, in 1970. 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.
In 2005, the orca became the Washington State Marine Mammal, due to the research and persuasion of second graders from the Crescent Harbor Elementary School in Oak Harbor, Washington. This symbol is intended to promote orca awareness and to encourage protection of the natural marine habitat.
2012 marks the 6th consecutive year that June has been proclaimed "Orca Awareness Month" by Governor Gregoire.
Orca Network "believes "Tokitae" represents what we feel when we're on a ferry on the Salish Sea: "Nice day, pretty colors." It is a cultural, historical greeting that reflects the beauty of the region, and honors Washington's Native heritage, as do other Washington State Ferry names."