Water Taxi: More romantic than a Venice gondola?


That’s Irene Stewart, West Seattle’s former Seattle School Board rep, and Fauntleroy Community Association president Bruce Butterfield. They got engaged recently on the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. We heard the story at the last FCA meeting but thought it was off the record … till the photo above, and a King County news release about it, just landed in the WSB inbox!

On a boat normally frequented by commuters and Mariners fans, West Seattle residents Irene Stewart and Bruce Butterfield found an entirely different use for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi: They got engaged.

On June 25, Stewart and Butterfield were celebrating their tenth anniversary of dating. Ten years earlier, they had taken the Water Taxi downtown for their first date, and they decided this year to do the same in celebration.

“We took the Water Taxi to make it easy on ourselves – nothing fancy, just a fun ride to a restaurant downtown,” said Stewart, who as an aide to then King County Councilmember Greg Nickels was instrumental in getting the service started.

Stewart said everything seemed normal until the vessel approached Pier 55 on the downtown waterfront. All of a sudden, the captain veered to the left and turned the boat around so it faced West Seattle. Everyone onboard was quite confused.

Almost everyone, that is.

For Butterfield, this was all part of the plan. Earlier in the day, he made several trips to Seacrest Park to speak with the captain and crew, and enlist their support.

With the city skyline in the background (hence the turning of the ship) and two crewmembers filming, a packed deck watched with surprise as Butterfield knelt down on one knee and asked Stewart to marry him.

Everyone cheered. But Butterfield shushed them. “She hasn’t said ‘yes’ yet,” he said, but Stewart quickly agreed. There was more cheering downtown as the Water Taxi docked and the newly engaged couple continued on their journey – in more ways than one.

Stewart is currently director of the Seattle Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens, and was a member of the Seattle School Board from 2003 to 2007. Butterfield is a Realtor with Prudential Northwest Realty at Jefferson Square and president of the Fauntleroy Community Association. No date has been set, but the two anticipate a summer 2009 wedding.

Congratulations to Irene and Bruce! P.S. Speaking of the Water Taxi, WSB has just become a proud sponsor of West Seattle’s own foot ferry … we took a picture of our new banner yesterday while heading downtown:


Our banner’s on the starboard side of the upper deck. Lots of other great West Seattle businesses are sponsoring the Water Taxi too — among them, one of our current WSB sponsors, Click! Design That Fits.

7 Replies to "Water Taxi: More romantic than a Venice gondola?"

  • JenV July 18, 2008 (2:56 pm)

    …’scuse me, I think I have something in my eye…

    very sweet. congrats to you!!

  • Tyler July 18, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    People are always asking me for a Water Taxi schedule, and this certainly seems like an appropriate place to post a link:


    Congrats to Irene and Bruce! Evening trips across Elliott Bay always seemed like a good place for this type of thing.

  • WSB July 18, 2008 (9:09 pm)

    That reminds me, been meaning to add the link atop the Traffic page. There now.

  • Erik July 18, 2008 (11:56 pm)

    I ride this thing every day and have seen Bruce’s banner on the boat many a time. Just the other day I saw WSB’s banner, is this new?

  • Erik July 18, 2008 (11:58 pm)

    Okay, maybe if I read the story before posting….been a long day… :-)~

  • acemotel July 19, 2008 (12:46 am)

    That’s a very long courtship!

  • Deanne July 24, 2008 (3:22 pm)

    Wow! I introduced these two people about 10 Years ago – I guess that makes me a “Match Maker” – I might have to start a side business.

    I just love Bruce and Irene together..


Sorry, comment time is over.