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King County’s soon-to-come environmental research vessel has a name: ‘SoundGuardian’


The voters have spoken, selecting “SoundGuardian” as the official moniker of King County’s new twin-hulled research boat that will begin operating in June. The SoundGuardian will aid the work of County field scientists who monitor regional water quality and respond to environmental emergencies, and replace an aging vessel in service since the 1970s.


The results of King County’s “Name the Vessel” contest are in, with voters decisively selecting SoundGuardian as the name of a new 48-foot, environmental research catamaran that will begin its work protecting water quality in June.

Field scientists with King County’s Environmental Laboratory will use the SoundGuardian to collect water quality data in Puget Sound, Lake Washington and the Duwamish River. The new vessel, which will replace the 40-year-old Liberty, will be cleaner, more efficient and safer to operate in rough waters.

The SoundGuardian will also be able to respond much more quickly to environmental emergencies such as illegal spills and dumping, toxic algae blooms, fish kills and beach erosion.

Christie True, director of King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, said the name not only reflects the County’s important work to protect regional water quality, but also borrows from the name Soundgarden – a seminal Seattle-based grunge band.

“There were so many great names suggested, but we think the public really came through with SoundGuardian,” said True. “Not only does it aptly describe the vessel’s mission to protect water quality in Puget Sound, which is where all our water eventually flows, it’s a nod to our region’s beloved grunge music heritage. We are thrilled with the new boat and its new name.”

The County received a total of 319 votes during the contest, which put three publically-nominated finalists up for vote. SoundGuardian received 178 votes. The runners up were “Cascadia”, with 126 votes, and “SeaKing”, with 15 votes.

Submitting the winning name was Bruce Kessler, who lives in unincorporated south King County. Kessler will receive a commemorative plaque and a tour of the SoundGuardian when it hits the water this summer.