- Recent Events and Milestones
- Ferry Outage Survey
- Reason for Committee
- Committee Members
- Public Dock Grants Information
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
- Reference Documents & Links
The first Advisory Committee meeting was on September 28, 2021. As of June 2022, meetings are generally each 4th Tuesday of the month at 7PM. (The committee does not meet in July or December.) Interested in attending?
- Click here to send email to a committee lead.
- Links to the Zoom recordings, meeting notes, and supporting documents are here.
Ferry Outage Survey
We are providing a permanent survey for anyone who has be impacted by an unplanned Outage. It is located in the Ferry / Travel / Weather section of the site menu, or can be reached to Take the Survey Here as well.
Reason for Committee
Whatcom County Public Works has no plan for allowing private boats to use existing or new dock facilities at Lummi Island or Gooseberry Point. Current operations allow only approved vessels under the command of a licensed Captain.
Recent and past experience has shown that private boats are important when the ferry is temporarily out of service and people have an urgent need to get to the mainland.
e.g., scheduled surgeries, non-emergency but hospital-required care, airport flights, etc.
Whatcom County doesn’t provide any quickly deployed backup vessels or options during these outages.
The new ferry and dock upgrades are approximately 5 years away. There’s a demand for interim solutions to the problems with close access to Gooseberry Point.
Lummi Island lacks adequate publicly accessible dockage for temporary mooring limited to a few hours (or less) where people can board. This severely limits the many recreational boat owners in the area.
Boat owners could continue volunteering, as they have during 2021 overnight outages, to safely assist persons in urgent need of transportation if a suitable dock was available.
Investigate working with Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Department to establish a public dock that provides recreational boat access to and from the island (not a marina).
This is felt as a good option to additionally provide Urgent Need access to the mainland when there is a temporary ferry outage.
On Saturday July 31, 2021 the Whatcom Chief’s rudder control system failed causing a prolonged ferry outage on a very busy summer weekend. The outage lasted from around 2 p.m. until service resumed around 7 a.m. the following day. Shortly after the outage began my husband Jim had an urgent medical situation arise that required him to go to the ER at the hospital to resolve. At that point his situation was urgent but not life threatening so calling the helicopter for medical evac was not a viable option.
Our wonderful Fire Department volunteers who responded to my call for assistance helped to quickly arrange for an aid car to meet us at Gooseberry to get him to the ER, if we could get him across the water. Because Good Samaritans used their vessels on that day to transport many many people who were stranded on both sides of Hale Passage during the prolonged outage, Jim received the medical care he urgently needed.
While Jim and I were climbing down, and then back up the large rocks that make up the riprap next to the ferry dock, I became very aware that Lummi Island really needs a place that is easy and safe to access during an emergency ferry outage or a major Island emergency. For these times, we need a place where private or contracted vessels can land safely and quickly – without needing to go through all that is involved in putting in the floats like for dry dock.
I have approached LICA and LIFAC and spoken to several public officials about what Jim and I experienced during that outage and about my intention to try to work within the Lummi Island Community to come up with a strategy to address this need now instead of when the docks will be modified to accommodate a new replacement ferry. I have received the support of the LICA board to form a committee of islanders who would like to work together to explore the need, brainstorm for both short term and long term solutions, and develop a workable solution.
If you think this is an important problem and you would like to be part of the solution
please call Mary Ross 425-941-0087 with any questions.
NOTE: Some service outages are due to problems with the ferry. Other outages are caused when there is a problem with the dock system.
There were approximately 18 days when a ferry outage took place (not including weather-related outages).
Short term outages of 2 to 4 hours occurred on 4 days during which no ferry service was available:
- July 13
- August 27
- October 6
- October 25
- July (early afternoon to midnight on 7/31 and 7 AM to 8 AM on 8/1) during which no ferry service was available
- October (late morning of 10/28 through afternoon of 10/30) during which no ferry service was available for 9 hours on 10/28 and 4 hours on 10/30
- Inspections and maintenance when there is no ferry service from 10 AM to 3 PM ( 2/24, 3/10, 4/14, 5/26, 6/2, 7/21, 8/4, 10/20, and 12/15 )
- Dry dock – 2 days when no passenger ferry was available at some period during the day
Short Term outages of 2 to 4 hours:
- January 26
- March 8
- Inspections and maintenance when there is no ferry service from 10 AM to 3 PM ( 2/09, )
- Dry dock –
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
We have a growing list of Questions and our replies HERE
Reference Documents & Links
Current Reference emails & documents
- Mantle Industries email 2021-11-04
- Floating Dock/Ramp Concept – $ Guess by Chris Immer
- 2021/11/09 Conversation – with Bill Haynes, Ashton Engineering & Terry Terry, Whatcom County Parks
- Rich Hudson – cost of the October 28 – 30 Whatcom Chief Ferry Engine Failure
Companies / Organizations mentioned
- Surowiecki Brothers Construction, LLC – Marine Contractor
- Ashton Engineering – Marine Engineering
- Mantle Industries – Aluminum Gangways / Ramps & more.
- Outer Island Excursions – Water Taxi
- IslandExpressCharters.com – Anacortes WA, passenger carrying landing craft vessels
- PintailMarine.com – Friday Harbor, Landing Craft Barge
- Element Solutions – Geotechnical and Environmental consulting firm
Historical Documents for Ferry Docks
Public Works & Public Beach Access (Parks & Recreation)
- Lummi Island Ferry Terminal Eelgrass Survey – 2019/08/27 for Whatcom County Planning & Development Services
- Get er Done – Recommendations by T.T.
- Examples of projects submitted by other organizations to Whatcom County Parks & Recreation for consideration
- Whatcom County Tax Parcel Viewer
- Lummi Island Subarea Plan May 2009 – A Component of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan May 2009
- Whatcom County Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan 2016 – current plan to be updated in 2023/2024, hopefully to include a public dock on Lummi Island as a “community desire”
- Whatcom County Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan 2016 Appendix – refer to results input gathered at public meetings on Lummi Island in 2013 (start on page 169)
- Summary of references to Lummi Island from the Whatcom County Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan 2016
- Population Growth Monitoring for Whatcom County – Review county growth patterns since 2014, not specific to Lummi Island
San Juan Islands
(click on map to enlarge)
Lummi Island – Bellingham
NOAA Chart 18424
Updated: 2023/11/03 @ 3:50 pm Lane Davis-Coury