Annual maintenance will take the Guemes Island Ferry out of service beginning Sunday, Feb. 24. The vessel is expected to return to service by 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 19.
During the haul-out, Arrow Launch Services will provide passenger-only ferry service aboard the vessel Strait Arrow; the vessel can accommodate 49 passengers and bicycles. Additionally, Skagit Transit will provide shuttle service on Guemes Island starting Saturday, Feb. 23. The shuttle will operate 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and on Saturday; 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday; and 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. The suggested fee is $1 for standard fare and $0.50 for a reduced fare (senior/disabled/youth).
“Taking the vehicle ferry out of service is always an inconvenience for our islanders, riders and neighboring residents,” said Capt. Rachel Rowe, Skagit County Ferry Operations Division Manager. “In-depth maintenance and repairs are critical to keeping the 40-year-old vessel running smoothly. We’re also conducting an inspection of the Guemes that will help us create a practical maintenance plan for the remaining life of the vessel.”
Passenger-only service will start at 8 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, and will run on the non-peak sailing schedule: 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The schedule is also available online atwww.skagitcounty.net/ferry.
The passenger vessel Strait Arrow can accommodate small motorbikes or electric scooters at the discretion of the captain. Extreme weather conditions, including high winds and low tides, may affect the service.
Maintenance work on the ferry is being completed by Foss Shipyard in Seattle. In addition to routine maintenance, Foss will remove and replace an outdrive, transmissions, drivelines, propellers and emergency fire pumps. Crews will also completely remove and renew the car deck coating, and recoat the hull. Separate from this work, a marine surveyor will conduct an in-depth marine survey to include ultrasonic inspection of the vessel’s hull, car deck, framing and tanks. A marine engineer, marine surveyor and specialized inspection services will determine a maintenance plan for the remaining service life of the Guemes, as well as information about a vessel repower should the ferry replacement project be delayed for any reason.
The last maintenance haul-out of the M/V Guemes was in February and March of 2017.
Find more information about the Guemes Ferry online at www.skagitcounty.net/ferry.