The list of these restrictions, which prohibit trucks of greater than 40k pounds Gross Vehicle (GVW) during minus low tides, are relevant to those wanting to haul or have hauled gravel, soil, concrete, construction and other heavy loads during 2017. At other times, the maximum GVW is 50,000 lb.
How tide restrictions work: The crew is, and always has been, rigid in enforcing the county engineer’s requirements regarding weight. Any vehicle weighing more than 40,000 pounds is required to have a weight slip and may board with the captain’s permission. Nothing is allowed over 50,000 pounds, and the maximum limit during periods of minus tides is 40,000. The crew regularly turn trucks away from uninformed haulers that are overweight or haven’t obtained a weight slip.
Companies or contractors who regularly bring heavy trucks across know about this process. However, any islander who’s expecting a heavy load delivery should make sure that the trucking company knows they need a weight slip if the total GVW greater than 40,000 lbs during times of low tide restrictions.
The restrictions protect the aging Gooseberry Pt and Lummi dock ramps. The same load and minus tide restrictions have been in place since the mid 1990s. It seems ironic, given how little attention islanders in general pay attention to the aging of the docks vs the Whatcom Chief, that the docks may be more of a limiting factor in ferry service in the years ahead than the vessel.