Dry Dock 2019

Saturday, Sept. 7 –
Tuesday, Sept. 24

Every year in September our ferry, the Whatcom Chief, goes into dry dock for maintenance at a shipyard. Since there is no substitute vehicle ferry, this means foot passenger service only. 2019 dry dock lasts for about 3 weeks.

The end date is tentative in case repairs take longer than expected. What you read here is not official. Check the Whatcom County website for official information and updates.

Cutting off vehicle service from the mainland immediately takes Lummi Island to a more tranquil pace. Roads default to walkers and bicyclers. The occasional car is surely a local. Some people relish the respite, others split on vacation. Commuters grimace. Strange happenings and spontaneous revelries have been known to occur…

Parking at Gooseberry Point

Be familiar with the few places that are authorized for public use. Locations are clearly posted. Tow away zones are regularly enforced. See the official county parking plan here.

East of the ferry dock, there is a small lot near the intersection of Haxton Road and Emma Road. Note that six spaces at the north corner of Lummi View Drive and the dock access are available from September 8, the day after dry dock starts.

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A patchwork of reserved, handicapped, and general parking spaces are quilted into the dock area. 

South of the dock, parking is authorized along the shore side of Lummi View Drive. Parking spaces begin at about Finkbonner Road and continue almost to Lena Drive.

Tap image to enlarge

Helpful Hints

Fuel up: If you are driving on the island during dry dock, don’t forget to fill your tank while you can. There are no fuel stations on the island. And don’t expect to tote gas cans on the passenger ferry or van – no fuel cans or other highly-flammable items are allowed.

Garbage service continues, but no recycling. SSC keeps a garbage truck on the island for pickups on Sept. 9 and 16. (There will be no garbage service Monday, Sept. 23.) It will be ripe to leave when it finally makes its way back to the mainland.

Most businesses are open during dry dock, including the Islander, Beach Store Cafe, and the Willows Inn. The Willows Inn also provides guest shuttle service to the island ferry dock and special parking for hotel guests at Gooseberry Point.

Passenger-Only Ferry Schedule

The passenger-only ferry schedule (see here) is slightly different than normal vehicle service. Departure times are still more frequent during weekday commute times and once an hour on weekends.

  • 55 passengers max

  • 6 bicycles max

  • Dogs are allowed on the stern of the vessel

  • Non-motorized wheelchairs only

To weekday passengers using the mainland bus system: good luck. There is even less synchronicity during dry dock, although current adjustments are better than years past.

Getting around the Island

The county provides free island shuttle service with hourly stops during most of the day. The van has a wheelchair lift. You can call the driver at (360) 815-1299 or flag down the van anywhere along the route. Be early at your stop with bells on. The van must meet a very tight schedule and the driver won’t stop if no one is standing there.

  • Only 15 passengers at a time

  • No pets in the shuttle van

  • Morning schedule between 5:55 am and 11:50 am

  • Afternoon service between 3:55 pm and 10:50 pm

Each stop will have a small white sign with the time of that stop. For example, the van will stop at Beach School at “0:12″ or 12 minutes after the hour during scheduled times.

Official dry dock van schedules here.