This blog covers trips from the book and other favorites. Contact Rob in Seattle: rob@robcasey.net or 206-465-7167

1/24/12

Walking Your Kayak, Canoe, or SUP on the Washington and BC Ferries

In the first editions of this book, Randel Washburne wrote of walking his kayak on the ferry for a few trips.  In updating the book, I found this is still possible on Washington State Ferries and BC Ferries and costs the same fee as a motorcycle.  The passenger only ferries will not take kayaks unless they can be stowed away as an inflatable. Some routes such as the San Juans are free on the way back so many paddle there from the mainland, then ride free back home.

WA State ferries ask you to follow these simple rules:
- Arrive one hour early. Consider an earlier arrive during peak summer periods. 
- Move to the front of the line and wait with the motorcycles and bicyclers.
- Use a cart to more efficiently carry your kayak and gear.
- Have your kayak ready to board the ferry efficiently without any issues.
- You will be the first off, so be ready when the ferry lands.  

Several ferry landings have public access adjacent docks or easily accessed beaches.  Others require walking your kayak a short distance to the water.  Make sure to scout or confirm your launch prior to departure as things change and public access is becoming harder to come by.

Nadja Baker and her husband wheel their kayak to the shore a few blocks from their house in Anacortes.  They paddle to several destinations from there but carry wheels in case poor weather changes their plans and requires a ferry ride back home.  

Consider using a wheel or cart system that can be broken down and placed in a hatch or on your deck.  SUPs have several innovative wheel systems, see my Stoke Magazine blog posting on this topic:  

Also confirm overnight parking info at your ferry departure location.  Some require fees and a Discovery Pass for State Parks.  Downtown Seattle used to have parking in lots across from Alaskan Way. But the tunnel construction and demise of the viaduct will change this, thus we didn't list it in the book.  

Here's a short list of ferry landings which have easy access launches:
- Kingston.
 Launch below the short flight of stairs on the north side of the parking lot.  Or wheel your boat through past the terminal restrooms to launch in the marina in the bay adjacent to the dock.  

- Edmonds. 
Wheel your boat down the dock and exit on the left or north side into the public beach park.  

- Southworth. 
Wheel your boat up the slight hill about 300 yards, then take a hard near 180 degree right to follow the single lane paved road which parallels the ferry dock to the north. There's a nice sandy beach at the end right next to the ferry.

- Vashon.
 Access the beach below the Mexican restraunt on the left or east side of the dock.

- Mukilteo.  
There's a small beach park on the east or right side of the dock with parking if needed. 

- Keystone.  
Wheel your boat to the right off the dock and into the gravel public boat ramp lot.  Launch into the protected bay adjacent to the ferry.  

- Port Angeles (Blackball Ferry).  
Wheel your boat about a half block left or east of the dock at Hollywood Beach adjacent to the Red Lion Inn.  The restaurant there has a good salmon dinner.

- Lummi Island.
From the mainland use the public lot behind the store adjacent or north of the dock.  Bring cash for the ferry (no cards accepted).  

- Bainbridge.
Wheel your boat up the dock past the toll booths.  Aim towards the left side of the road and at the top of the hill, approx 400yds, take a left at the Eagle Harbor Condos. At the bottom of the hill before the condos take the footpath to the beach, approx 300yds.

Useful Links:
WA State Ferries: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/
BC Ferries: http://www.bcferries.com/

Kayak Wheel Systems: 
- NW Outdoor Center, https://www.nwoc.com/shop/category.asp?catid=22
- Kayak Academy, http://tinyurl.com/6qp7668


SUP Wheel Systems: 
- See My SUP Blog - Stoke Magazine.


Learn more about my book Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips. I also offer SUP and Kayak lessons available throughout the year at Salmon Bay Paddle. Questions about paddling on the Salish Sea, give me a holler anytime at salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com or 206-465-7167

Support the Washington Water Trails Association and the Cascadia Marine Trail. The wwta works to create and protect access for paddlers on Puget Sound as well as provide an extensive network of over 60 paddle-in camping sites - www.wwta.org

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