New Senior Master Appointed

from Whatcom  County Public Works, via Mike McKenzie, Chairperson of LIFAC.

Rich Hudson has been selected as the new Senior Master to captain the Whatcom Chief. He fills the vacated position created by Fred Nyland’s retirement, effective Dec. 1. “Richie has some great ideas, and we’re excited to have him in this role,” said Rob Ney, PW director of special projects.”

Here’s the process used to make the selection. It differs greatly from the previous criteria of just seniority,

Lummi Island Ferry Rates Starting October 4, 2015

How much? The full table of 2015 ferry fares for the Lummi Island Ferry are on the County’s Public Works (PW) website. New fares start on Oct. 4, 2015. The fare table has been on PW’s site for a while, as Ferry fares eff 10-4-2015 (presume ‘eff’ stands for effective).

When & where? Public Works staff will be at the ferry office (on LI dock) on 10/4 to sell punch cards from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. After 10/4, you can buy punch cards, as usual, on the ferry run back to the mainland. Cards also can be purchased online or by mail (for how-to details, see the County’s ferry website, left column).

The County PW ferry website link is always the top link ( “County ferry website”) on the Ferry Forum blogrolll/list of links.

Old punch cards. The County website includes the Whatcom County ordinance, which established the new rates  Table 7 of the ordinance gives all the changes, in detail. It sets six months (April 4, 2016) after new cards are issued (Oct. 5, 2015) for expiration of current (higher rate for pedestrians and car/driver) punch cards.

September 1, 2015 LIFAC Meeting

The agenda for tonight’s LIFAC meeting (Sept 1, 2015, 6:30 PM, at Lummi Island Fire Hall) is here. Hit the ‘download’ button for the Sept. 1 line to see the pdf file. Key agenda items:

  • Rob Ney (Public Works) will give updates on dry dock, old ferry passes and inspections


  • LIFAC members will report on their progress on the Level of Service (LOS) work plan (approved at their August 2015 meeting; not yet posted on the LIFAC county website).  The LOS work plan was jointly developed by LIFAC and Public Works. Gathering and analyzing this information is the next essential step toward determining an appropriate replacement for the Whatcom Chief.

Note: When the LOs work plan is up on the county website, I will post the link here.

LIFAC Website – New Communications Plan

At their August 2015 meeting, the County-appointed Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) adopted a communications plan to help the community keep updated about ferry issues.

LIFAC’s county website has 4 new items:

  1. The communications plan, which tells how to participate and stay informed about LIFAC activities.
  2. A new address for contacting LIFAC:
  3. A subscription link that lets you get emails about LIFAC meetings, agendas and other documents:
  4. Current LIFAC members.

The communications plan, drafted by Nancy Ging (newest LIFAC member), was reviewed and modified before being adopted and implemented.

Kudos to LIFAC for taking these steps to improve communications with the ferry-using community.

Lummi Island Ferry Dry Dock 2015 Info

UPDATE 7/27:  New great article about the dry dock experience by Isaac Colgen.

The Whatcom County’s Public Works ferry site has links to information about the 2015 Lummi Island ferry dry dock (Sept. 10 – Oct 1), including the passenger ferry schedule, van service on the island and van stop maps.  Basic timing of dry dock is here – very important is the time of the last car ferry run on September 9!Read More »

2015 Lummi Island Ferry Drydocking, Repair and Maintenance Bid and Costs

Here’s the link to Whatcom County’s 2015 bid document for the annual drydocking, repair and maintenance of the Whatcom Chief, ferry to Lummi Island. (The pdf file is located on the searchable, public Whatcom Ferry Documents Archive).  It includes all the specific required work, including photos of areas needing repair or replacement.

The successful low bidder was Puglia Engineering (multi-state corporation) for $464,289, which was approved by the County Council in June 2015.

This should reinforce, for everyone, the need to get moving on planning for a new ferry.  In the meantime, I personally hope that Whatcom County Public Works is/will be working with other counties with ferries to ensure that drydock bids are as reasonable as possible.

County Fare Relief Proposal June 2015

UPDATE August 4, 2015:  The Count Council will hold a public hearing tonight (Aug. 4) prior to voting on the new fare ordinance:

2. Ordinance amending Whatcom County Code Chapter 10.34, Ferry Rates, and the Whatcom County Unified Fee Schedule (AB2014-426B (Clean) and AB2014-426B (Strikethrough) 

In reading the proposal, note that our present (the old) fare schedule does not show the $3/ticket surcharge in the fares. Read More »