These dolphins guide ferries

EDMONDS — They’re called dolphins, the pilings that stick out of the water and help guide ferries into the dock.

At the Edmonds Ferry Terminal, all but one is made out of steel.

Now the last dolphin made out of creosote-coated timber at the dock will be replaced by steel, said John Callahan, a Washington State Ferries project engineer.

Work began Monday on the $1 million project and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month, Callahan said.

The remaining timber inner dolphin was installed in 1979 and is about 50 feet out from the berthing end of a ferry. It is one of six dolphins at the ferry dock.

The dolphin that is being replaced is not used as much as larger outer dolphins that stabilize a ferry, Callahan said. The dolphin that is being replaced is typically used as a safety feature, he added.

“Inner dolphins are not used for stabilizing the boat,” Callahan said. “They’re primarily used to direct a boat if it gets a little off.”

Most timber dolphins last up to a decade but the one in Edmonds lasted longer because it was used infrequently, Callahan said. Steel devices can be used for 50 years and have less of an effect on herring, salmon and other marine life compared with the creosote-covered timbers.

“(Steel) is much more durable and much more environmentally friendly,” Callahan said.

Work done earlier this week to place the device in its location involved hydraulic tools that can disturb orcas while they are feeding, Callahan said. Biologists and trained ferry operations staff monitored the area off the dock but did not see any whales.

Construction has not affected ferry traffic, Callahan said. The timber dolphin was left up while the steel one was put in place so ferries could continue to dock at the terminal.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times Carol Johnston has watched this Pacific madrone grow for the past 14 years. It is slated to be removed during McDonald’s upcoming renovation in early February.
Madrone tree to make way for bigger McDonald’s in Oak Harbor

Despite being named a Tree City USA, the city has no special protection in place for the native tree.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Andrea Brown / Herald file)
Gas tax increase part of Dems’ massive transportation package

An 18-cent gas tax hike and a fee on carbon emissions would raise $25.8 billion for new roads and more.

Navy seeks to conduct SEAL training in Whidbey, Camano parks

The deadline to register to participate in public comment is 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22.

Driver jumps from truck in Lynnwood, leaving son to crash

The boy was taken to a local hospital with minor scrapes. His father is in the Snohomish County Jail.

Light rail work to close northbound I-5 in Mountlake Terrace

The overnight closures will happen late Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Jill Johnson (left) and Greg Banks
State’s vaccine schedule draws criticism from Island County

Gov. Jay Inslee’s new plan for vaccinations didn’t include a change for disabled people.

Grant program reopens for businesses suffering amid pandemic

Local businesses that haven’t applied to Snohomish County’s “R3” program can do so until Feb. 2.

The strip-mall site (bottom) where Trent Development hopes to build 350 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2020 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Hundreds more apartments planned around Lynnwood light rail

In a new proposal, a developer envisions 350 units, two buildings of at least seven stories, a one-acre courtyard and a dog spa.

Most Read