Plover ferry to start runs this Friday
By Jack Kintner
The MV Plover, Blaine’s 63-year-old restored passenger ferry, will begin its annual summer season of weekend trips on Friday, May 23.
As in the past, the ferry leaves Blaine Harbor from the base of the gangway at gate two below the harbor center on the hour, and leaves Semiahmoo for the return trip on the half hour.
Richard Sturgill, founding director of Drayton Harbor Maritime and the prime force behind bringing the boat back into active service, said “the last available round trip from Semiahmoo leaves an hour and a half before service ends for the night, which is 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Holidays and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.” The boat is licensed to carry 17 passengers.
Built in 1944, the boat is made of fir planks on white oak frames. It’s inspected every two years by the Coast Guard and this year, Sturgill said, the marine inspectors wanted to see some of the fasteners, silicon bronze screws that hold the planks to the ribs. “That’s what they do after 12 years, and we came through fine. They’re just as bright as when they were installed.”
The inspection did reveal a minor crack in one starboard side rib which was repaired by Westman Marine’s Norm Walsh, whose father worked on the Plover back in the 1950s.
The boat has been completely repainted inside and out, and is ready to go, Sturgill said. Back as captain this year is Sam Clemens assisted by crew Margaret Fradin. The Plover’s season continues each weekend throughout the summer until Labor Day weekend.
No tickets are sold, but donations of at least $2 per trip are encouraged. “Kids always ride free, though,” Sturgill said, “which is why we’re able to get so much donated help and support from so many people.
For lots of kids this is the first time and maybe the only time they’re ever out on the water.”