Ferry Tales: Aerobically Exercise

Guemes Islanders are oddly unapologetically independent, their backgrounds and lifestyles  diverse. Each of us deal with Guemes’ issues in his/her own way. The wealthy retirees, families trying to raise their children, daily  commuters, tourists, conservationists, medical  emergencies and so many others all have one thing in common: The Guemes Ferry!  

Whether it is daily or just once or twice a year (July 4th comes to mind), we all grace the decks of the Guemes.  

It is not Guemes’ ferry though. It belongs to Skagit County, and many in the County are not aware of the dynamics between the two entities. Many Guemes Islanders are not either. The only thing we’re sure of is we are digging deeper into our pockets to get off our beloved rock. Why?

The County says we need a new boat - the Guemes is too old and worn out to last much longer. Comparatively speaking, the Whatcom Chief that serves Lummi Island, is 16 years older, runs daily approximately every 20 minutes until midnight. The run time is about the same as the Guemes. Could we wait another 16 years for a new boat?  The comparison could end there. Their  fares are higher - $7.00 to walk on - and not much parking on either side. A 16 car ferry that carries about 20 cars. Smaller passenger cabin.  Fares collected on board.  Lummi Islanders are now looking for funding for a new ferry.  

Shouldn’t Guemes explore more than one option for our “lifeline.” Be it the  first of its kind in the United States electric ferry or refurbishing our existing ferry or something in between. Shouldn’t we be told the actual cost and how we are impacted by that cost?  Will our grandkids still be paying a surcharge as well as increased fares?

We must communicate with the “powers that be” positively.  Simply expressing outrage alone  is not  effective. Write or email  the Commissioners, attend meetings, ask questions, and yes exercise our oddly unapologetic independence.

-Commentary by MJ Andrak

 

Email comments are preferred and must be sent to ferrycomments@co.skagit.wa.us with “Ferry Vessel Replacement Surcharge” in the subject line. Include your comments in the body of the email rather than as attachments.