Our Lummi Island Community

Advisory Committee – Public Dock

Meetings

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.

Discussion

Anyone who has access to the Community Discussion area on the website can access the section there for the Public Dock.

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.

Purpose

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.

Committee Members

  • Chris Immer *
  • Mary Ross *
  • Lane Davis-Coury
  • Greg Hall
  • Nick Kluge
  • Dave Perry
  • Alan Krum – IT Liaison

*Question? Comment? Contact the Public Dock Advisory Committee Leads

Background

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.


Outages

NOTE: Some service outages are due to problems with the ferry. Other outages are caused when there is a problem with the dock system.

2021

There were approximately 18 days when a ferry outage took place (not including weather-related outages).

Unplanned 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

Longer outages:

          • 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

Planned outages:

        • 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

2022

Unplanned outages:

Short Term outages of 2 to 4 hours:

Longer Outages:

          •  

Planned outages:

          • 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

Presentations

Current Reference emails & documents

Companies / Organizations mentioned 

Historical Documents for Ferry Docks

Public Works & Public Beach Access (Parks & Recreation)

Whatcom County

San Juan Islands

Skagit County


Photos


Maps

(click on map to enlarge)

Ferry Area

Lummi Island Beach Access (Whatcom County Parks & Recreation) to Current Ferry Dock

Granger Beach

Granger Beach

Lummi Island – Bellingham

Lummi Island in relation to Bellingham

NOAA Chart 18424

Keywords


Updated: 2022/12/28 @ 4:08 pm Lane Davis-Coury

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