Blaine By The Sea

Historic Plover
Passenger Ferry

A ride on the MV Plover Foot Passenger Ferry at the Blaine Marina is a popular tourist and local attraction. The Plover is Washington’s oldest foot passenger ferry, operating from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.

The Plover is an 11-ton, 32-foot, 17-passenger foot ferry that sails between Blaine Harbor Marina, Gate 2 to Semiahmoo Wharf dock behind Semiahmoo Resort. The vessel is owned by the City of Blaine, Washington, and operated by the nonprofit Drayton Harbor Maritime. As an added attraction for kids, the Plover allows children to steer the Plover and become “Captain for the Day.”

Part of the Coast Millennium Trail, the Plover carries passengers with bicycles. The Coast Millennium trail is a regional trail that eventually will connect trails as far south as Skagit County to the Canadian border. The cost to ride the Plover is by donation. It features a two-person crew commentary on the history and restoration of the ferry. The ferry is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard with a running time of 20-minutes from Blaine to Semiahmoo Resort Wharf and a return trip of 20-minutes to Blaine Harbor Marina. Times are approximate.

What to see on the Plover

While on your cruise, the 2-person crew is informative on the sights seen. Starting from the Gate 2 dock, you pass through the working harbor to the breakwater to Semiahmoo Bay. Observe soaring eagles, Cormorants, harbor seals, great blue herons, a variety of waterfowl, and views of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, White Rock, BC and the towering Mt. Baker across Drayton Harbor.

Docking Locations:

Memorial Day through Labor Day
Fri, Sat: Noon-8PM
Sun: 10AM-6PM
Fares: $5 Recommended Donation, under 12 Free.

Blaine Boating Center Visitor’s Dock
235 Marine Dr. Blaine
Departs on the hour from the Blaine Visitor’s Dock, Gate II at the Blaine Boating Center, Gate 2.

Semiahmoo Resort Wharf Dock
Departs on the half-hour from the Plover Dock at Resort Semiahmoo Wharf area.

Historic Plover Passenger Ferry Update:

We’ve all been waiting for the return of the historic 80-year-old Plover Passenger Ferry. However, our wait will be a little longer. Due to our beloved vessel’s challenging repairs and maintenance, we regret to inform everyone that the Plover will not be available to sail this Memorial Day weekend. The dedicated crew is working tirelessly to ensure the safety and integrity of this iconic maritime gem. While this journey has been challenging, the outcome will be truly rewarding. Your patience and support during this time are deeply appreciated as Drayton Harbor Maritime and the City of Blaine work towards ensuring the Plover’s continued legacy.

About the Plover Ferry Restoration.

The iconic MV Plover, recognized as the oldest foot passenger ferry in Washington, has been undergoing an extensive year-long restoration. The ferry, an integral part of Drayton Harbor’s maritime history, is currently going under significant repairs and refurbishments to ensure its return to service meets the rigorous safety standards the US Coast Guard set while preserving its cherished historic charm.

The much-awaited return of the Plover holds great significance for Blaine’s tourism industry and the community. The ferry, built in 1944 and crafted from cedar and fir, has long been a beloved attraction, offering visitors and residents alike the opportunity to experience the beauty of Drayton Harbor through its short yet scenic route.

The restoration project, which began to ensure the vessel’s seaworthiness, has faced various challenges and delays. However, the dedicated efforts and perseverance of the restoration team and the City of Blaine have culminated in a remarkable transformation, poised to rekindle the allure of the historic ferry for locals and tourists alike.

To track the progress of the repairs and witness the ferry’s return firsthand, interested individuals can follow the repair status on it’s Facebook page. This initiative aims to engage the community and foster anticipation for the Plover’s hopeful return to the waters of Blaine by the sea in 2024.

The hopeful return of the Plover Passenger Ferry will be a celebratory event, marking not only the restoration of a cherished piece of local history but also the revival of an experience that has long captivated the hearts of those who have traversed the tranquil waters of Drayton Harbor aboard this storied vessel.

Stay tuned for further updates as the historic Plover Passenger Ferry prepares to set sail again, rekindling the spirit of adventure and nostalgia it has long embodied.

A little Plover history

Built in 1944, the MV Plover is the oldest foot passenger ferry in Washington with the shortest route. The Plover is made of cedar and fir and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Until 1964, the Plover was used to shuttle workers to the Alaska Packers Salmon Cannery on Semiahmoo Spit, now home to Semiahmoo Resort-Spa-Golf. In the late 19th century, the cannery was one of the largest salmon canneries in the world.

Visit the Alaska Packers Association Museum located in Semiahmoo Park on Semiahmoo Spit. Open weekends through Labor Day 1 PM to 5 PM.

Plover Stats

Year Built: 1944
Overall Length: 32 feet
Beam: 9’7″
Draft: 5 feet
Net Tonnage: 11 tons
Hull Construction: 11/4 “x4″ clear vertical grain fir and yellow cedar planking laid over 11/2″ x21/2″ bent white oak frames 10” on center.
Engine: 1964 Daggenheim inline six-cylinder diesel.
Capacity” 17 passengers, 2-crew

Photos ©Ruth Lauman