2014 Dry Dock Inspection & Work Report on Whatcom Chief

Here’s a summary of the 2014 dry dock ‘inspection and work done’ report for the Whatcom Chief, ferry to Lummi Island, that was sent out on 9/18/2014 by Mike McKenzie, LIFAC Chair, via Paul Davis’ Brown Betty email alert service. It’s great that the whole inspection report will apparently be posted soon, perhaps on the Public Works ferry site or LIFAC webpage.  Thanks to Rob Ney of Public Works for providing this summary so promptly, in response to LIFAC’s request for the information.  Thanks, too, to LIFAC for making the request.


From Mike McKenzie
Public Works ferry operations manager Rob Ney responded to a request by the Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee for dry-dock inspection results, and the LIFAC received a response today that included a Certificate of Inspection that passed a four-person team of the U.S. Coast Guard, representing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Highlights of the reports (which will be posted publicly as soon as possible):

Rob Ney at PW commented about the Whatcom Chief: “She may be old, but she is in remarkably good shape.” (The Chief is approaching its 52nd birthday in December.)

The report was submitted by Columbia Sentinel Engineers Inc. The report contains detailed photographs of areas of hull work. There are six pages of infinitely-tailed hull measurements, none of which raised any alarms among inspectors, including the engineers and the Coast Guard. Some notable notes:

  • “The hull is in very good condition with very little deterioration from the original scantlings.” (Editor’s Note: def. of scantlings: a set of standard dimensions for parts of a structure, especially in shipbuilding.)
  • Ultrasonic thickness readings were taken by Certified Inspection Services with localized areas.
  • “The propulsion machinery, pumps, and generator…good condition.”
  • “Both shaft systems have had bearing clearances checked.”
  • The No. 1 generator John Deer(sic) engine is receiving a top-end overhaul.”
  • “Electrical systems are well-maintained…very little of the original system remains.”
  • Estimated value of the Whatcom Chief = $910,000. Survey of brokers revealed that recently-sold similar vehicles went from $230,000 to $1.6 million.
  • Estimated replacement of the Whatcom Chief with a 20-car, double-end, passenger ferry = $5,886,000.

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