Lummi Island Ferry
Whatcom County Public Works Ferry Division
responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Whatcom Chief.
This ferry serves Lummi Island residents, visitors, and businesses, transporting
over 216,838 passengers during 2008. This same period has seen vehicle
or passenger car trips of 117,254 and total vehicles transported of
123,285. 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
The Whatcom County ferry system operates 365
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
Each year the Whatcom Chief spends time in
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 made available near the
Gooseberry Point landing during the period of dry dock. This temporary
mainland parking facility has a nighttime security guard. Temporary
parking is also provided on Lummi Island for those who choose to walk
on for the trip to the mainland.
The ferry system includes two terminal
and parking facilities. A portion of the Gooseberry Point facility is
secured from the Lummi Nation through a lease agreement.
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.
Hours of Operation
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
In 2008 operating expenditures for the Lummi
Island Ferry System totaled $2,124,508 . Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (Ferry
Deficit Reimbursement) of $144,319 and interest income of $37,645
partially offset these costs. This results in net maintenance and
operations expenditures of $1,942,544. Fare-box receipts totaled
$1,128,360, which equals to 53.1% of total operating costs, and 58.15%
of net operating expenditures.
Any questions? Contact Public Works Ferry
(360) 676-6876, or