The Rainforest Islander is scheduled to link South Mitkof Island, Wrangell and Pettersburg starting in mid-July. (Photo courtesy Rainforest Islands Ferry)

The Rainforest Islander is heading back for repairs in Bellingham, Washington after an unsuccessful first sea voyage. (Photo courtesy of Rainforest Islands Ferry)

The Rainforest Islands Ferry’s been delayed again. The new independent service is now not expected to be up and running till the beginning of August. The boat had been on its way to Ketchikan from Anacortes, Washington but Kent Miller the general manager of the new service says it quickly ran into problems.

“We had to turn the boat around in Nanaimo, BC, where it had some emergency repairs and send it back to Bellingham, Washington where we’ll have the repairs done in Nanaimo inspected and there will be some additional repairs to do,” he said.

He told KFSK the boat sea tested well when it was in the boatyard in Bellingham but once it set off it quickly became clear it was not ready to sail. Both the electrical system and the shaft on one of the boat’s engines were not working properly.

The 65 foot vessel is a converted landing craft that was refitted by Latitude Marine Services, a boatyard in La Conner, Washington. And Miller says while he doesn’t want to point the finger, the things that went wrong are on the list of basic services the shipyard is supposed to perform under the terms of their contract.

“I wouldn’t say blame is a very good word to use in business. Things go right sometimes and things go wrong,” he said. “That certainly is the way it has been in our relationship with this shipyard. In this particular case two things went wrong that should not have gone wrong that are attributable, I believe, to the work they have done or left undone.”

Latitude Marine Services are not able to make a comment at this time. Miller doesn’t want to set a specific start time for the ferry service but he says Rainforest Islands Ferry is very sorry to all the passengers who have so far been disappointed.

“We can’t apologize enough to those passengers who want to travel,” he said “We’re in the business of providing service and they’re counting on us to do that.”

For updates check the Rainforest Island Ferry website at or call them at 907-329-2031