Annual Dry Dock

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Save the Dates:  The Whatcom Chief’s annual dry dock outage is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 29 – Saturday, May 20, 2023. 

*These dates are subject to change. 

The following information is a recap of the 2022 Dry Dock outage and should not be used to plan for 2023:

Dry Dock 2022

The Whatcom Chief will be out of service for dry dock repairs and maintenance starting the morning of Friday, May 6. The boat is expected to return to service on Saturday, May 21. The return date is always tentative and subject to change.


  • Thursday, May 5: Last day to move your car between the island and the mainland. 
    • Last Lummi Island sailing is 9pm, last Gooseberry Point sailing is 9:10pm.
  • Friday, May 6: Dry dock begins, Whatcom Chief out of service. Passenger-only ferry provides transit between Gooseberry Point and Lummi Island. 
  • Saturday, May 21: No ferry service at all until the Whatcom Chief returns late in the evening. The return date is always tentative and subject to change. This page will be updated and email notifications sent if the schedule changes.

2022 Dry Dock Abbreviated Schedule

2022 Dry Dock Full Schedule of Activities 

Lummi Island Ferry to Return to Service on May 21, 2022

Please contact Whatcom County Public Works Administration with questions or concerns at 360-778-6200 or email [email protected].  

A Spring Dry Dock in 2022

In recent years, the Whatcom Chief's dry dock maintenance has happened in the fall. This year the vessel will have a spring dry dock outage for approximately 2 weeks from May 6-21. 

Mandated repairs were cited by the US Coast Guard at the end of the fall 2021 dry dock period. Completing this work when it was first cited would have likely caused a significant delay in the vessel's return to service. Completing this work in the spring ensures proper planning and materials acquisition. Other benefits of a spring dry dock include:

By the end of September, the Ferry Division will be in the unique position to compare and contrast the drydock outages performed at different times of the year. Some of the items we will look at are:

  • Vehicle parking availability
  • Passenger ferry down time due to inclement weather (disruption to emergency response, commerce, and education)
  • Ridership and farebox recovery
  • Shipyard availability 

Passenger-Only Ferry:

The contracted passenger-only ferry will provide service between Lummi Island and Gooseberry Point.

Rules for the passenger ferry: 

  • Pets and bicycles are allowed on the stern of the vessel only.  
  • Owners are responsible for their pet’s actions.
  • Bicycles will load last. The maximum number of bicycles allowed on the passenger ferry at one time is six.
    • Bicycle users must be able to lift their bicycle over their heads or be prepared to wait for the next ferry if there is no room on the stern of the boat. 
  • The passenger-only ferry can only accept non-motorized wheelchairs as motorized wheelchairs are too wide to pass through the opening in the bulwarks of the passenger ferry.

Shuttle Van Service

Our shuttle van is a surplus WTA 15-passenger van with a wheelchair lift. The shuttle must meet a very tight schedule. Please be at the shuttle van stop early to be sure of a ride. The maximum number of passengers allowed in the shuttle van at any one time is 15. No exceptions. Read more general information about the shuttle van.

Vehicle Parking and Removal

Vehicle parking information is referenced in the maps below:

It is extremely important that designated no parking areas are kept open and clear for the smooth operations of the ferry system, shuttle van, and for safety and fire access. 

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