Please mark this on your calendar. On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 21, the U.S. Coast Guard will be inspecting both of the Chappy Ferry vessels. This is the yearly in-the-water inspection of safety equipment and lifesaving demonstration. It usually takes about an hour per boat.

The Coast Guard is also inspecting Magic Carpet and Mad Max that day.

At the moment, we don’t know the exact time of the inspections but will inform you when that is known. Please plan to give yourself extra time between 8 and noon that day.

Starting on Oct. 17, the On Time 3 is scheduled for haul out for biennial maintenance and Coast Guard hull inspection. That’s the day after the Derby ends. The On Time 3 is the longer of the two ferryboats. That leaves the shorter On Time 2 to handle the vehicle traffic alone.

We will be depending on just the one ferry until at least Thanksgiving weekend, when the other ferry goes back into the water. It could be longer. We won’t be sure until the hull inspection is performed.

During that period, use of the vehicle cut line will be restricted to the school bus, medical providers and, of course, emergency vehicles. Fuel trucks, concrete mixers, USPS, UPS and FedEx will all have to wait in the regular line. Please plan to give yourself extra time.

Who knows what the traffic flow will be this Fall? The pandemic has caused unpredictable behavior in the use of the ferry.

I’m hoping that this early warning will give contractors time to avoid deliveries of materials and concrete as much as possible during this time.