The ferry Wahkiakum will head to an Astoria shipyard later this month for inspection and some repairs.
County Public Works Director Pete Ringen said the ferry is tentatively scheduled to go out of service February 25 and be in the yard about a week.
Federal regulations require a drydock inspection for freshwater ferries once every five years, and the inspection is due by March 6, 2013, Ringen said.
He added that because the ferry is due to be replaced with a new vessel next year, he had requested a waiver of the requirement; however, US Coast Guard officers denied the request.
"They flat said, ‘No,'" Ringen said.
Ringen said the scheduled arrival at the dry dock is tentative because it depends on when the shipyard, Astoria Marine Construction (AMCO), completes work on another vessel.
Ringen added that no other shipyard in the area is able to accommodate the work. Foss Maritime in Rainier, Ore., is booked well into the spring, he said.
Consequently, Ringen recommended that commissioners approve a resolution stating that AMCO is the only available service provider bidding requirements may be waived. Commissioners approved the resolution.
While the ferry is in drydock, crews will paint the hull and inspect the engine shafts. Ringen said there will also be work done on the marine sanitation system.
When the vessel was in drydock in 2008, the work cost $14,201.57, Ringen said. This year's cost could be similar, depending on how much repair is necessary. The Washington State Department of Transportation pays 80 percent of the ferry's operating cost, and these expenses should be eligible for that subsidy, Ringen said.