Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Alternative Ferry for Lummi Island

I had a slug of data base work. A bit dull, but not so dull that I can listen to the radio or anything that would distract my attention. So I linked onto a long play list of Scottish Gaelic music and cranked away at my task. But a video caught my attention when switching screens. The video reminded me of the long difficult Whatcom County struggles with their ferry to Lummi Island.

Washington State operates a number of ferries on the Salish Sea. But there are a few county run ferries as well. Whatcom County operates the Lummi Chief between Lummi Island and the mainland. Its a costly service that is heavily subsidized. For a time the County was considering a new boat to replace the current boat. This led to sometimes very impassioned public meetings with a very wide range of opinions on just what type of boat. To be honest, the whole thing greatly tried my patience. It was a difficult test for a public official. I found myself thinking it was regrettable that the County had ever gotten in the business of providing ferry service. There are lots of islands in the Salish Sea served by private boats. Alas, though too many people had moved to the island and commuted daily to simply end ferry service.

The above said, I think it would have been a bit of fun to suggest that Whatcom County purchase a ferry from Scotland to serve Lummi Island. It would satisfy those opposed to a big boat. It would greatly reduce dock costs. Probably wouldn't win any friends on Lummi Island, but it might make a great tourist attraction.

The first video gives an idea on how the unique boat works. The second video is a tourist promotion with lots of scenery besides the boat (I want to go, I want to go), but at 1:29 into the video demonstrates that the boat could handle the currents and waves in Hale Passage.

1 comment:

Wales Larrison said...

*laughing* cute boat!

Hmm... it looks like its capable of about 4 cars?

Current Lummi ferry is about 20 cars (if memory serves), and runs like every 30-60 minutes.

So you'd need like 5-10 of these to provide the same level of service in cars/day across Hales Passage? (probably could do it with like 3-4 in reality, since the ferry isn't in use 100% of the time.)