User Tools

Site Tools


Bellingham Bay Launches South to North

Samish Bay & South Bellingham Bay

  • Samish Island Public Beach is occasionally used for longer downwinders, but is not highly recommended due to the ankle and rudder busting, barnacle covered rocks in the water there.
  • Wildcat Cove (Larrabee State Park Boat Launch) Cove to Bay downwinders (Wind from south, paddle north to Marine Park (approx. 5 miles), Bellngham Marina (approx. 7.5 - 8 miles) or other Bellingham Bay landings.
    • Bellingham Bay water is COLD and conditions can get BIG. The average monthly water temp varies from 6 degrees Celsius (42.8 Fahrenheit) to 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure your ability and safety precautions are adequate for the conditions on the Bay. Talk to experienced local boaters about doing this downwinder if you have not done it before.
    • Leaving a vehicle at Wildcat Cove - you will need a Discover Pass or pay for day parking (violators are often ticketed). There have occasionally been car breakins at Wildcat, valuables left in cars is a bad idea.
    • Reverse downwinders ending at Wildcat can be good too with north winds (get familiar with what it looks like going in the other direction so you don't miss your takeout - is that really Whiskey Rock?).
    • Wildcat can also be a good launch for laps when the wind is coming from the north or northwest.
      • Laps to North - start out going upwind to Whiskey Rock and farther then surf back
      • Laps to South - surf south as far as you want keeping in mind the amount of slog against the wind you will have to do to get back
        • Dogfish Point (2 miles south of Wildcat - about even with Oyster Dome) - It's a ways to paddle from Wildcat, but the waves can be best if you get to Dogfish Point. You will just have a longer slog to get back to Wildcat. Kiters are warned that the trail at Dogfish is really steep so we can only assume it is not really a viable put-in or take-out for surfskis directly at the Point.
  • Marine Park (map) This park is near the Alaska Ferry terminal in Fairhaven. Launch for paddlers in many directions depending on conditions. When a south wind is blowing the park launch is usually somewhat protected so you often have the opportunity to do “laps” going into waves of increasing size as you get out of the wind protected zone - and gauge how much you are comfortable with and skilled enough to handle in terms of chop and surfing waves when you are headed downwind. A rare shore break at MP
  • Community Boating Center boat ramps in a bay area with better south wind protection than most local launches. Some parking close to the ramps and a larger lot across the railroad tracks from the launch. The larger lot has a bathroom and boat rinse station. Close to Marine Park, this is an option when MP is overcrowded or particularly when the Bay is too rough with south wind and you are looking for a place to launch and/or paddle protected from the south wind. Like MP you can work your way out into rougher water gradually as you are ready. Sometimes this launch works well when a SW wind is pushing good waves deep toward Cornwall Beach. You can get out into the waves, paddle toward Cornwall Beach or Boulevard Park and get some wind protection hugging the shore on the upwind, particularly as you stay left and get closer to the CBC again.

Upper Bay

North End of Bay

  • Cornwall Beach - currently problematic to leave a vehicle here due to risk of break-in. As of 2020 this beach is relatively neglected, but if city/port plan to build large park on east shore moves to completion, this area could become a more attractive boat launch.
  • Bellingham Marina protected entry/exit at breakwater by Zuanich Point Park. You can launch/take out at the pier just east of the park or at the boat ramp by the parking lot on the north side of Anthony's Restaurant. There are 2 boat rinse faucets with hoses at the north end of the parking lot close to the street.
  • Squalicum Beach limited parking. There are concrete slabs lining the right entry shore and up to about 10 yds into the right edge of the water (exposed/a hazard at low tide) and at least one large rock about 30-40 yds out from the right shore that is well above water level at low tide and disappears but can be lurking at medium tide levels - you need to become familiar with these before you paddle here in rough conditions - just take a look at lower tide and you can get a good idea about where to come in. After rains, strong south winds can push logs into this beach and landing area that may have to be dodged. Landing at Squalicum Video
  • Locust Beach on the north shore of the Bay, farther west than Squalicum Beach. When the wind is blowing from the SE this can line up better with the waves though you will be going farther west offshore during your run. No nearby parking - you have to park on Marine Drive (or Locust Ave if allowed?) and walk a bit on a path unless the membership/parking deal with North Sound Kiteboarders is still a possibility. They used to provide shelter access for a small membership fee and limited parking at $1/hr.

bham_bay_launches.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/19 19:19 (external edit)