How low it can go: Extreme low tides can cause ferry delays

Taking an RV on the ferry this summer? Pulling a trailer? You may be interested in this factoid. (Whether it’s a fun fact likely depends on your actual experience…)

Extreme low tides can cause Washington State Ferries to apply height restrictions on the Mukilteo-Clinton route. An extreme low tide is Friday and was expected to affect ferries. In May, the Mukilteo-Clinton route saw several sailings in a single week that could not accommodate vehicles over 50 feet, with low ground clearance, or with long rear overhangs.

“During these low tide periods, the loading ramps are at a steep slope, which creates a sharp angle for large trucks or RVs with a low ground clearance,” said Justin Fujioka, a Ferries spokesman. “Waiting for a higher tide allows for safer clearances and prevents damages or delays caused by vehicles scraping or hanging up on the loading ramp.”

Terminal staff say these extreme low tides typically come around full moons in November, December, January and February and around new moons in May, June, July and August. The latest new moon was June 13.

You can find ferry alerts and other ferry travel information — such as wait times and suggested best times for travel — at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.

Question or topic idea? Email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com.

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