2021 Guemes Island Ferry Haul Out
2021 Guemes Island Ferry Haul Out
The Guemes Island Ferry is scheduled to be out of service from Friday, May 14, through Saturday, June 12, for U.S. Coast Guard mandated haul out and maintenance period. Prior to the haul-out, you can find important haul-out related information on this page. During the haul-out, we will provide regular updates and photos of progress at the shipyard.
Maintenance work on the ferry is being completed by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland. It has been more than two years since the M/V Guemes was last hauled out for maintenance – February and March of 2019. While the ferry system completed 99% of its scheduled runs in 2020, the vessel needs maintenance so it can continue to provide reliable service.
Arrow Launch will provide passenger-only service during the 28-day haul out. Skagit Transit will provide shuttle service on the island except on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31.
Mar. 12 - Why is the ferry haul out scheduled over Memorial Day weekend?
We understand this year's haul-out is later in the year than past haul-outs, and will affect travel on the Memorial Day weekend. There were many factors to consider this year: U.S. Coast Guard mandated inspection schedules, shipyard schedules and availabilities, the pandemic, and passenger safety.
Coast Guard inspection schedules and shipyard schedules
The mandated U.S. Coast Guard dry dock exam for the M/V Guemes was originally scheduled for March 31; the Ferry Division requested a 90-day extension due to COVID-19. This gives the Ferry Division until June 30 to complete the required dry-dock inspection.
Skagit County’s Call for Bids for the haul-out allowed bidders to propose dates between April 30 and July 1. Shipyards propose schedules based on their availability, and the county must choose the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder.
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, in Freeland, WA, submitted the lowest, responsive, responsible bid. Their proposed start dates were May 14, May 26 (the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend) and May 31 (Memorial Day). With any of these options, the vessel would have been out of service for all, or part, of Memorial Day weekend.
The pandemic and passenger safety
Extending the haul-out into the warmer, drier weather means passengers can be outside on the passenger-only vessel and in waiting areas, and can more easily spread out and maintain physical distance from each other. It’s much harder to maintain the recommended distance during rainy weather, when passengers typically want to be under cover while waiting or in the cabin on the passenger boat.
We do not yet know what the pandemic situation will look like in May and June. We may need to reduce capacity on the passenger vessel; however, we will address this issue by making extra trips when necessary.
The bottom line: We know that any time we take the car ferry out of service, it’s an inconvenience. Our goal with this year’s haul out is to maintain our commitment to passenger safety. We are also committed to getting the car ferry back in service well in advance of the Fourth of July weekend.
Mar. 4 - Guemes Island Ferry haul-out will be May 14 through June 12, 2021
The next scheduled haul-out of the Guemes Island Ferry will be May 14 through June 12, 2021. During this time, passenger-only service will be provided by Arrow Launch Service, and shuttle service will be provided by Skagit Transit. Be advised the car ferry will be out of service over Memorial Day weekend, so please plan accordingly. More details will be released soon.
The low bid of $742,713 was submitted by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, in Freeland, WA. For more inforamtion about the project and to view bid results, please visit www.skagitcounty.net/rfp. The schedule, proposed by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, was chosen as the best time for the haul-out even though it includes a holiday weekend. Better weather in May and June means passengers won't be stuck inside waiting for the ferry and the passenger boat. Passenger safety and COVID-19 were the most important factors in scheduling. We also want to get the car ferry out of service and back on the route well in advance of the holiday weekend.
Due to COVID-19, Skagit County requested a 90-day extension for the dry dock credit inspection normally due March 31, 2021. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has granted that extension, subject to an internal structural examination that will take place on Monday, March 22, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Dakota Creek Shipyard. On Monday, March 22, after the 9:45 a.m. run, the car ferry will transition to the shipyard for the required inspection. Passenger-only service will be provided for the 10:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. sailings. If everything goes smoothly, the car ferry will return to service at 1:30 p.m.
The last haul-out of the ferry was completed March 22, 2019. In 2020, the ferry system completed 99% of its scheduled runs. It is time for us to take the ferry out of service and conduct important maintenance activities so that we can continue to provide reliable service.
To sign up for ferry alerts, visit www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/Home/emailListmain.htm and subscribe to the "Guemes Island Ferry" list.