Port of Bellingham to Expand Emergency Ferry Service

To help Whatcom County residents affected by the recent Canadian border closure, the Port of Bellingham announced Wednesday that it will offer more of its temporary, emergency passenger-only ferry service for free twice a week to and from Point Roberts marina and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal starting Sept. 8.

The move allows the port to offer access to residents who have not been able to get at essential goods and services after the coronavirus pandemic led the Canadian government to close its borders.

While not physically attached to the U.S., Point Roberts is part of Whatcom County and can only be reached via car through Canada, or directly via plane or boat. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, however, U.S./Canada border restrictions have been in place and are expected to continue until at least Sept. 21.

Port officials have been working on a border exemption for U.S. residents in Point Roberts by teaming with the county’s Federal Delegation and a cross-border task force. This two-hour ferry service between Point Roberts and Bellingham was a way to quickly address the issue.

San Juan Cruises’ 100-foot vessel Salish Express will provide ferry rides for residents who need to shop for goods, make doctor visits and run essential errands. Rides will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. Reservations will be required and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made for rides through the end of the month. From the ferry, residents can connect via WTA near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal at Fairhaven Station. Face masks will be required on the ferry and any transit connection.

Visit www.portofbellingham.com/pointrobertsferry for more.

By Sarah Spangler