North

Debris washing down Yukon River disables Dawson City ferry

The George Black Ferry in Dawson City, Yukon, is out of service for a few days, thanks to some debris being washed down the swollen river.

George Black Ferry damaged by log, expected to be out of service until at least Wednesday

Dawson City's George Black Ferry, seen here in 2018, normally runs 24 hours a day through the summer. (Submitted by Ev Pollock)

The George Black Ferry in Dawson City, Yukon, is out of service for a few days thanks to some debris being washed down the swollen river.

A Yukon government spokesperson says a log did some mechanical damage to the vessel. 

"It was the driveshaft that runs the propellers ... they have two of them on there. A log got jammed under the ferry at the landing spots," said Calvin Hoogland, with the Department of Highways and Public Works in Dawson City.

"I guess the log went under the ferry and into the propeller and that bent the shaft a little bit. So that kind of creates a vibration through the whole ship." 

He says too much vibration from the shaft could damage the engine.

Hoogland blames the high water on the river this year.

"It's the logs that are under the water that you can't see. And that is the issue — you get too much stuff that is being pulled from the shore," he said.

He says large debris such as waterlogged wood can do a lot of damage to the ferry's propulsion system.

Hoogland said Tuesday that repairs were going well, and the ferry could be back in service by late Wednesday afternoon.

Residents who live in West Dawson, across the river from the main townsite, are asked to make preparations for the gap in service.

The George Black Ferry normally operates 24 hours a day through the summer.

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