In 1904, Crawford and Reid in Tacoma, Washington built the SS Dix. The vessel was a 130-ton and 102.5 foot steamship that was licensed to carry up to 150 passengers. Seattle and Alki Transportation Company owned the vessel and saw its sole purpose as a member of Puget Sound’s “Mosquito Fleet”, servicing the route from downtown Seattle to Alki Beach.
Before it even began service, the Dix had issues. Inspectors declared the Dix a top heavy vessel. The Dix’s narrow beam of 20.5 feet and high superstructure meant it would require 30 tons of ballast before being certified to carry passengers. Once added, it was approved for service.
The Dix operated for two years, rarely differing from its downtown to Alki route. In those years, operators of the vessel reported that the Dix, despite its added ballast, still rolled in inclement weather and that they had difficulty controlling the ship.