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The original item was published from 10/29/2021 4:34:00 PM to 10/29/2021 4:37:12 PM.

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Public Works - Lummi Island Ferry and Roadways

Posted on: October 28, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Updates on the Emergency Outage of the Whatcom Chief

On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, the Whatcom Chief had main engine issues that caused an emergency service outage. We will update this page as additional information becomes available. We hate having to take the ferry out of service, but for safety reasons this is necessary. 

We deeply sympathize with everyone who is impacted by this outage. If you have concerns about this emergency outage and would like to share those with us, email your concerns to us at [email protected]


  • 10/29 @ 4:30pm: Repairs are going well and sea trails are still expected to take place Saturday morning. Our next update will be on Saturday, 10/30, after sea trials are completed. 
  • 10/29 @ 2:05pm: Needed parts have been secured and repairs continue on the Whatcom Chief's engine. If repairs can be completed successfully, the vessel will undergo sea trials in the morning on Saturday, Oct. 30, and tentatively return to service Saturday evening.

    The tentative schedule would be:
    • Last service with the passenger ferry at 10am from Lummi Island and 10:10am from Gooseberry Point.
    • Whatcom Chief returns to service at 4pm.
    • This tentative schedule is contingent on successful repairs and sea trials. 
  • The cause of this outage is under investigation and a report will be made at the next LIFAC meeting on Nov. 10.
  • 10/29 @ 11:00am: Mechanics have worked through the night on repairs to the Whatcom Chief's engine. The vessel will not be able to return to service today. We are trying to source parts to complete repair work. We will be able to update again around 2pm with additional information. 
  • 10/28 @ 7:40pm: Passenger only ferry service begins. 
  • 10/28 @ 4:15pm: The County Executive has signed an emergency proclamation regarding the emergency service outage of the Whatcom Chief.
  • 10/28 @3:55pm: Here is the passenger only ferry schedule: Unfortunately, we are unable to provide shuttle van service because we don't have a way to get the vans to the island.
  • 10/28 @ 2:44pm: Mainland parking is available along public roadway shoulders as shown on this map: 
  • 10/28 @ 1:49pm: A passenger ferry is being brought into service to provide transportation to and from the island. We hope to have the passenger ferry in service around 8pm tonight.   
    • The Whatcom Chief will be out of service for at least 24 hours, and possibly longer for emergency repair at a local Bellingham shipyard. No return to service day can be scheduled at this time. 
  • 10/28 @ 11:21am: The ferry is experiencing engine trouble and will be taken out of service while mechanics diagnose and troubleshoot the problem.

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