The King County Ferry District is leasing the MV Melissa Ann and her sister ship, the MV Rachel Marie, from Four Seasons Marine Services.
Both vessels were built for the U.S. Army in 1988 at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island. They were used to ferry workers to and from the ballistic missile tracking station on the Kwajalein atoll (in the Pacific). Traces of this service are evident in the interior signs—still in place on the both the Melissa Ann and the Rachel Marie—that are written in Marshallese, the language of the Kwajalein and Marshall Islands.
After their service with the Army, both of the vessels served on the Bremerton-Seattle foot-ferry route and then worked together in Hawaii as commuter ferries. The Rachel Marie most recently worked in Juneau, Alaska, where she ferried workers to a remote site of a silver mine.
The vessels were named after the daughters of one of the owners.