Official DRAFT Lummi Ferry System Improvement Documents

Links to these current draft (i.e., may be changed) documents are now available to read and comment on, by anyone who wishes to learn more about the *current* (not final!) preliminary information available from the County’s consultants (KPFF). KPFF was hired to analyze ferry level of service, consider options and estimate potential costs, pros and cons, for consideration by the community. Ultimately, the County Council will decide which if any option to pursue further.  Please note that older unofficial, even more preliminary draft version/versions were circulated on a social media site without LIFAC approval. Directing comments to the drafts below will avoid needless confusion.

From: Nancy Ging <>
Sent: May 1, 2018 6:33 PM
To: LIFAC Announcements <>,
Subject: [LIFAC Announcements] Ferry Consulting Documents Available

At our work session last Thursday (4/26/18), the Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) voted unanimously to publish preliminary DRAFT consulting documents we have received from KPFF Group to our County website. Council staff finished that today, and you can now download and view the documents from the official LIFAC webpage: Please note that these are DRAFT documents and are subject to change. Also, these documents are intended to be appendices attached to the final consulting report. For example, several of them contain portions of cost information. The final document (not yet available) will pull all the appendices together into overall option summaries and KPFF’s final recommendations. If you feel anything is missing, in error, or you have an opinion you want to be considered before the documents are finalized, please send feedback as soon as possible in one of the following ways: 1. Send your comments in an email to: 2. Come to one of LIFAC’s meeting and speak during the public comment time. You can speak for up to three minutes, but you also can submit as much written information as you would like. It makes things a lot easier if you can bring your verbal comments in written form as well so we can attach them to our minutes. Meeting schedules for the next couple of months are available on our website. 3. Give your written comments to any LIFAC member. Current members include: Charles Bailey Rhayma Blake Cris Colburn (Bellingham) Jim Dickinson Pat Dunn Nancy Ging On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, KPFF will make their final presentation at a public meeting at Beach School (Centerview and N. Nugent, Lummi Island). This will be the LAST OPPORTUNITY to directly ask these experts questions about the options they recommend. Public comments, however, will be accepted by LIFAC until JUNE 25, 2018. Additional documents and revisions will be made available as they are received. Watch for public announcements from LIFAC. The website link above is your best source for the most current and accurate versions of the documents as we move forward. Our meeting schedule for the next couple of months is also posted there. Thank you for your interest! We look forward to your continuing participation. Nancy Ging LIFAC Chair

To contact LIFAC, send message to:</></>

Lots of Truck Weight Restrictions during 2017 Low Tides

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.

Lummi Island Fire District – Ferry Communications

Lummi Island medical or fire emergencies can require sudden use of the ferry for transport. That doesn’t happen by magic. Rather, it has required well-planned and continually supported radio links between two county agencies, the Whacom County Fire District 11 (WCFD11, Lummi island) and Whatcom County Public Works (WCPW ferry operations).

In 2011, District 11 Fire Department (Duncan McLane, Chief and elected Fire Commissioners Bob Busch, Ed Scott & Wendell Terry) purchased and arranged for the installation of compatible communications equipment needed for these essential communications. This was done by a formal agreement between Fire District 11 and Public works  (alternative link here). Initial funding was provided by a grant obtained by the Fire District. Presumably on-going maintenance of this system is funded by Fire District property taxes paid by Lummi Island property owners. Effective operation is made possible by the fact that some ferry crew members are also volunteers in the Fire Department.

Positive interactions like this between two of Whatcom County’s government agencies are essential to handling emergencies effectively for the isolated Lummi Island community.

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.

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 »