How About a Ferry Advisory Board!

Editors Note:  Jim Dickinson’s wheels have been spinning in many creative directions regarding the ferry situation.  The following proposal is his latest contribution….


Due to the amount of time required for in-depth investigations and planning, Lummi Island ferry users ought to be called upon to assist Whatcom County Public Works Department as it continues ferry service to the island.   An Independent Advisory Board, not aligned with or connected to an existing entity, could help conduct research and analysis and make recommendations based on member expertise and experience.  To guarantee that the population serviced by the ferry has a voice in its operations, the Board should consist of a minimum of 5 members, all of whom use the Lummi Island Ferry.

Members of the proposed Advisory Board would be required to have a committed interest in Ferry transportation; an ability to comprehend complex mechanical problems and solutions; and the time to investigate options.   It would be desirable for some members to have training and experience in specialties including vessel operation and/or design; marine conditions; marine propulsion and systems; crewing and staffing a ferry; and transportation-related accounting.

In addition to the qualifications suggested above, board members must be willing to:

  • participate in research;
  • interview Marine Architects;
  • visit other ferry operations and relevant shipyards;
  • examine various vessels;
  • collaborate with existing Ferry Advisory Boards; and
  • recommend ferry plans, produce reports and provide advice to the Whatcom County Council, the Executive Office and the Public Works Department;

The Ferry Advisory Board should be established by the County through a process that starts with inviting interested individuals to participate in formally establishing the composition, purpose and responsibilities of the Advisory Board.  Individuals participating in this planning process would subsequently recommend those to serve on the Advisory Board.  The County would vet those recommended and appoint members to an officially-recognized Independent Ferry Advisory Board.

The Board would meet at least monthly, more often as required.  ALL meetings would be open to the Public with time available for non member Citizen Input. Findings are to be presented from a majority opinion of the members.

Anyone interested in supporting or further exploring creation of a Ferry Advisory Board, please contact James Dickinson, PO Box 74, Lummi Island, WA 98262.  Telephone: (360)-319-0284; email:

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