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Old 16-01-2016, 10:26   #1
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Bound for the PNW

After a huber of years on the GOM and several years in the Caribbean we are headed to the PNW for an extended stay of work. Can anyone offer suggestions on marinas in the Seattle/Tacoma area? Any local knowledge on cursing in the PNW? Are there any established groups here for the Sea-Tac area? Etc.....

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Old 16-01-2016, 10:56   #2
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Re: Bound for the PNW

It would be good if you could be more specific as to what parameters are most important. You sound like you want to liveaboard so that will restrict the list of possibilities right away. In Seattle itself probably the two biggest marinas are Elliot Bay and Shilshole. You have to drive by the downtown area to get to SeaTac but not bad really as you don't have to get on the interstate. I am not familiar enough with Tacoma to say.

We live in Anacortes which is a couple, or more if traffic is bad which is often the case, of hours minimum to get to SeaTac (assuming this is important). Getting a liveaboard slip is a haphazard deal though as most places have waiting lists. There are maximums allowed everywhere by state law and marina practices. Wait lists can be short or long and sometimes you just get lucky.

Local knowledge on cruising - that would take an encyclopedia. If you get here you will find enough places to go for ten years without getting bored. But it would be mostly north of the Straits of Juan de Fuca where the San Juans are and then up in to Canadian BC waters. That isn't to say that there aren't many great places to go visit in the lower Sound but it is different and not as spectacular as farther north. And, it gets better the farther north you go. But these trips are in "weeks" not "days", at least from South Sound.

Weather can be important for some. It rains a LOT in Olympia and the weather is just crappier there than most any other spot around. Port Townsend/Sequim is the driest and sunniest but the most remote from Seattle, SeaTac, etc. Anacortes is also good but some distance from Seattle. We are in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains so it is much nicer here - but still plenty of green from rain.

So you'll need to really think about what is most important for you. And some marinas have waiting lists just for any kind of slip which varies by size of slip, let alone for liveaboards (if they allow them at all). There are also little hidden marinas that are local knowledge some of which are not as deluxe as the bigger marinas.

Before we moved here we flew in for two weeks, rented a car, and drove north from Seattle hitting as many marinas as we could - Seattle, Everett, Anacortes, Bellingham, Point Roberts, then back south and across the Sound on the ferry to Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and then further south to Gig Harbor, Poulsbo, Bremerton, and Tacoma. We stopped going further south before we got to Bremerton. Our finalists were Bellinham, Anacortes, and Port Townsend. They are all very different and not really "urban" as in big city life (and traffic).

Good luck. You have some homework to do on your own. I would wait on the cruising details until you get here. I promise (if you like our weather and seasons) you will be happy with places to go.
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Old 16-01-2016, 11:05   #3
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Re: Bound for the PNW

I get these every year, great reads.

2016 Waggoner Free Download
We’re offering the 2016 Waggoner Cruising Guide as a free download. The PDF download is approximately 120 megabytes. Once downloaded, this PDF can be loaded onto almost any electronic
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Old 16-01-2016, 12:02   #4
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Have you considered Portland? Great fresh water and marinas are a lot cheaper than Sea/Tac area.
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Old 16-01-2016, 12:12   #5
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Much better cruising in Puget Sound.


Gonna depend on where you work. You will just have to check out liveaboard situations when you get here. Seattle will be tough but not impossible. Further north easier.
Shilshole allows people with slips to sub lease up to I think 6 months a year. I lived out there for 3 years by sub leasing and just moving every 5 months or so. People with slips there move their boats further north or etc certain times of year.
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Old 16-01-2016, 16:08   #6
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Re: Bound for the PNW

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I get these every year, great reads.

2016 Waggoner Free Download
Weíre offering the 2016 Waggoner Cruising Guide as a free download. The PDF download is approximately 120 megabytes. Once downloaded, this PDF can be loaded onto almost any electronic
Excellent suggestion! I bought one last year and should have just downloaded it. Very good resource - marinas and cruising.
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Old 16-01-2016, 18:20   #7
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Without a frame of reference (ie, going to live aboard, commute to work, commute to boat, income etc...)
It is impossible to give useful advice.
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Old 16-01-2016, 21:43   #8
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Port Orchard, straight across the sound from downtown, is a good place for liveaboard, with low priced, friendly marinas. Ferry at nearby Bremerton puts you downtown in about 40 min.; About 50 min drive in average traffic to SEA-TAC. Pretty decent day-cruising around there to the other small towns in the area, and you can find a little touch of remoteness in the inlets south of the Tacoma Narrows. You might also look at Kingston and Poulsbo, also close to ferry service to downtown.
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Old 16-01-2016, 23:31   #9
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Re: Bound for the PNW

ActuLly the myth of max live aboard by state law is not true. The bremerton marina has many spaces available and as long as you pay the liveablard fee they don't care. The limit marinas state is actually due to insurance not state law. More than ten percent live aboard and insurance for the marina goes up. My marina in port orchard has about 1/2 of the tenants living aboard. My dads marina in tacoma is about 1/3 liveaboard
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Old 17-01-2016, 12:01   #10
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Re: Bound for the PNW

many great replies to PNW . We have enjoyed Anacortes one year on hard, good stay aboard out of water, if hull work needed. One year moored in Anacortes, loved town with many advantages, alittle spendy. Next we moved to Semiahmoo near border, really love it here,200 hundred savings in rate, easy liveaboard . Best access to San Juan islands, Gulf Islands, Canada. Great liveaboard community. Fair winds
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Old 17-01-2016, 17:52   #11
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Re: Bound for the PNW

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many great replies to PNW . We have enjoyed Anacortes one year on hard, good stay aboard out of water, if hull work needed. One year moored in Anacortes, loved town with many advantages, alittle spendy. Next we moved to Semiahmoo near border, really love it here,200 hundred savings in rate, easy liveaboard . Best access to San Juan islands, Gulf Islands, Canada. Great liveaboard community. Fair winds
We looked at Semiahmoo too. Pretty far away from Seattle if that matters and little in the way of support/marine supplies but Bellingham is close by and it has all that.

Thanks for the post about the 10% "rule" on liveaboards, above.
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Old 17-01-2016, 18:05   #12
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Keep in mind Wa State will exact a "use" tax on the value of your boat of you chose to live there. Same rate as sales tax just another euphemism for grabbing money for nothing in return.

Portland doesn't have use or sales tax.
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Old 18-01-2016, 00:24   #13
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Re: Bound for the PNW

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Old 18-01-2016, 09:35   #14
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Re: Bound for the PNW

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Keep in mind Wa State will exact a "use" tax on the value of your boat of you chose to live there. Same rate as sales tax just another euphemism for grabbing money for nothing in return.

Portland doesn't have use or sales tax.
Port.and is also several hours drive from seatac. Which I would assume has something to do with the chosen profession.
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Old 18-01-2016, 11:35   #15
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Re: Bound for the PNW

Why stay south of the boarder? Living and working is so much better in Canada it seems a shame to stop in Seattle plus it is the finest cruising ground in the world (as long as you are set up for cold water and independent)
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