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Ferry to Lummi Island

Ferry Home

Ferry Operations

Please note we currently accept US cash, checks in US funds, and MasterCard, Visa, and Discover cards for payment on board the Whatcom Chief.

Gooseberry Pt. Dock/Tide Land Lease

Reports

Studies

Lummi Reservation Traffic Study This is a pdf document

Ferry Dock Relocation Study This is a pdf document

 


 
The Lummi Island Ferry Docks

News Updates

whatcom chieflummi island populationwhatcom chief

UPDATED: April 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Planned Service Outage for the Lummi Island ferry

Planned Service Outage for mandatory repairs to the Lummi Island ferry dock lifting mechanism

Ferry Operations Report 2013 This is a pdf document

2014 Tide Table Restrictions for the Lummi Island Ferry This is a pdf document

Credit Cards Accepted Onboard the Whatcom Chief Beginning January 1, 2014 This is a pdf document

Updated 9/27- Needs Based Ferry Ticket Information This is a pdf document

Whatcom County Public Works is pleased to announce that credit cards can now be used to purchase all types of Whatcom County Ferry punch cards at the Public Works Administration building located at 322 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225.

Hours are Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A 2.35% convenience fee will be added to the purchase price. Minimum fee per purchase is $2.00. Whatcom County does not receive any portion of the convenience fees. All sales are final and non-refundable.

New Ferry Loading Procedures at Gooseberry Point- Effective 9/25/12 This is a pdf document

Gooseberry Point Parking Map This is a pdf document


Ordinance 2013-042 Needs Based Ticket Program This is a pdf document


Comprehensive Ferry Lease DocumentsThis is a pdf document

 


Lummi Island Ferry

Whatcom County Public Works Ferry Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Whatcom Chief. This ferry serves Lummi Island residents, visitors, and businesses, transporting over 171,343 passengers for 2013. This same period has seeen vehicle or passenger car trips of 103,695 and total vehicles transported of 106,620.

During 2012, the ferry transported 182,484 passengers. This same period has seen vehicle or passenger car trips of 106,660 and total vehicles transported of 109,336.

During 2011, the ferry transported 185,801 Whatcom Chief passengers. This same period has seen vehicle or passenger car trips of 104,559 and total vehicles transported of 107,164.

Ridership shows strong seasonal variations.  July and August remain the busiest months with over 10% of all vehicle and pedestrian trips occurring in each of these months.  The permanent resident population is over nine hundred and during the summer swells to over two thousand.

Quarter
Year
Total Trips
Total Passengers
Total Vehicles
1st Qtr.
2014
2nd Qtr.
2014
3rd Qtr.
2014
4th Qtr.
2014

 

Quarter
Year
Total Trips
Total Passengers
Total Vehicles
1st Qtr.
2013
3,049
36,480
24,452
2nd Qtr.
2013
3,171
45,168
29,807
3rd Qtr.
2013
3,035
49,899
26,333
4th Qtr.
2013
3,120
39,770
26,002

 

Quarter
Year
Total Trips
Total Passengers
Total Vehicles
1st Qtr.
2012
3,073
37,927
24,545
2nd Qtr.
2012
3,180
48,320
30,428
3rd Qtr.
2012
3,086
55,248
27,618
4th Qtr.
2012
3,139
40,989
26,745

 

Quarter
Year
Total Trips
Total Passengers
Total Vehicles
1st Qtr.
2011
3,052
38,400
24,182
2nd Qtr.
2011
3,156
48,318
29,028
3rd Qtr.
2011
3,079
56,382
27,019
4th Qtr.
2011
3,122
42,701
27,935

 

The Whatcom County ferry system operates 365 days a year.  The Whatcom Chief is 93.5 feet long with a beam of 44.1 feet and a displacement of 78 tons.  This vessel was built in 1962 and has a capacity of 100 passengers and 20 vehicles.  The Whatcom Chief is the only link for the majority of Lummi Island residents and all vehicles to the mainland at Gooseberry Point, a trip of 0.8 miles and about 5 minutes, not including loading and unloading times.  The ferry is also a link for a number of summer residents and vacationers. 

Annual Dry Dock

Whatcom Chief in dry dock

Each year the Whatcom Chief spends time in dry dock in order to undergo annual maintenance.  The vessel can be in dry dock from two to three weeks, depending on the extent of the maintenance needed.  A passenger-only ferry operates while the Whatcom Chief is in dry dock. Temporary parking is provided on Lummi Island for those who choose to walk on for the trip to the mainland.

The ferry system includes two terminal locations and parking facilities.

Ferry Rates

Current ferry rates include single rider purchase and multi-ride card purchasing options.  In addition, discount fares (after meeting defined qualifications) are available to students, seniors, disabled persons, and Lummi Island residents who meet income levels set by Whatcom County Ordinance 2007-001. Total fares are intended to cover 55% of the operational costs associated with ferry operation.  The balance of the operational costs are covered by state and local tax revenues.

To read Whatcom County Ordinance 2007-001 in full please click here.

Lummi Island Ferry Rates to Increase on January 23, 2011 This is a pdf document

Hours of Operation

Hours of operation are 5:40 AM to 12:10 AM on weekdays (38 scheduled runs), 7:00 AM to 12:30 AM on Saturdays, and 7:00 AM to 12:10 AM on Sundays and five major holidays.  The ferry also offers a twice weekly fuel truck run and can accommodate vehicles up to 50,000 lbs. with some restrictions. The ferry is available as an on-call service in the event of an emergency such as necessary evacuation from Lummi Island to St Joseph's Hospital.


Ferry Costs

Whatcom County Ordinance 2005-090 states in part: "Beginning January 1, 2006, a 55% Fare Box Recovery Rate shall be applied and evaluated continuously from that time forward. An annual review of Ferry System services, actual and projected Operating Costs, and actual and projected revenue from Ferry User Fees shall occur in order to verify the 55% Fare Box Recovery Rate is being achieved."

"In any given year the actual Fare Box Recovery Rate exceeds 55%, the excess revenue shall be retained in the Ferry System Fund and applied only to future Operating Costs."

"In any given year the actual Fare Box Recovery Rate is below 55%, the difference shall be recovered in a future Ferry User Fee increase, unless there is adequate excess Ferry User Fee revenue remaining in the Ferry System Fund collected during prior years."

To read Whatcom County Ordinance 2005-090 in full please click here.

2013 Costs

In 2013 expenditures for the Lummi Island Ferry System totaled $2,521,621. Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (Ferry Deficit Reimbursement) of $134,374 partially offset these costs. This results in net maintenance and operations expenditures of $2,387,247. Fare-box receipts totaled $1,475,990 which is equal to 58.5% of total operating costs and 61.8% of net operating expenditures. The Road Fund transferred in $1,134,729 to subsidize ferry operations. The net operating gain for 2013 after this transfer was $229,131.

2012 Costs

In 2012 expenditures for the Lummi Island Ferry System totaled $2,488,023. Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (Ferry Deficit Reimbursement) of $181,433 partially offset these costs. This results in net maintenance and operations expenditures of $2,306,590. Fare-box receipts totaled $1,447,131 which is equal to 58.2% of total operating costs, and 62.7% of net operating expenditures. The Road Fund transferred in $1,119,611 to subsidize ferry operations. The net operating gain for 2012 after this transfer was $266,820.


2011 Costs

In 2011 expenditures for the Lummi Island Ferry System totaled $2,445,720. Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (Ferry Deficit Reimbursement) of $165,174 partially offset these costs. This results in net maintenance and operations expenditures of $2,267,811. Fare-box receipts totaled $1,545,829 which is equal to 63.2% of total operating costs, and 68.2% of net operating expenditures. The Road Fund transferred in $1,100,574 to subsidize ferry operations. The net operating gain for 2011 after this transfer was $372,892.

Contact Us

Any questions? Contact Public Works Ferry Division, at
(360) 676-6692, or
email: Ferry@co.whatcom.wa.us