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Old 17-09-2023, 16:35   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Diego
Boat: Helmsman 43 Trawler
Posts: 70
Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

We are considering relocating our trawler to the PNW for a couple years. The goal would be to cruise from May to Sept/Oct (when everyone else is also on the water). I have reviewed Dockwa and other sites regarding slips, but I am trying to get a better feel for slip access which I know can be difficult. LOA=46 ft. A few questions:

1. Are marinas mostly full during the Summer season?

2. Are many of them willing to do short term (1-10 days)?

3. Do most people make reservations well in advance for short term, or do they try to arrange while in the vicinity on VHF?

For winter storage:

1. How is the availability for longer term (6-7 month) off season storage?

2. Are there many locations that will store on the hard? What is the average rate?

3. Are most dry land storage yards outside, or in heated buildings? What is the rate for a covered building?

I realize there are many factors to this, just trying to get a general sense of the situation from the 30K ft level.

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
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Old 17-09-2023, 17:06   #2
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Location: Bellingham, WA
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Re: Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

Marinas in the northern PNW (Bellingham, Blaine both run by the Port of Bellingham) are full for that size with multi-year waitlists, however you can always pull into guest moorage for a day or a week but it's fairly expensive. For longer stays marinas can often slot you into a slip who's normal occupant is away for awhile which (supposedly) defrays their cost.
You can also usually sublease a slip - the commercial guys and some recreational boats head north (CAN or AK) for the summer leaving some empties. Proof of insurance is typically required.

Semiamoo (also in Blaine, WA) may have slips available

For winter storage around here indoors is not very common. Most folks leave their boats in the water for the winter unless they need to work on them. Anacortes has outdoor storage yards with hydraulic trailers making haul and launch quick-n-easy. Seaview Boatyards offer long-term rates for dry storage, but it's in a working boatyard so will accumulate more grime compared to Anacortes and probably more expensive.

There are more "hole in the wall" marinas in South Puget Sound that may have more space, and it's a bit more temperate than the northern Puget Sound (we get cold arctic outflow from BC a couple times a year). Tyee, Browns Point in Tacoma, a couple around Everett. Anything near Seattle is going to be expensive and full.
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Old 17-09-2023, 19:16   #3
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Re: Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

If you are willing to look a bit further north you could probably get a slip in SE Alaska just by showing up. Juneau might be a bit tough, and don’t know about Ketchikan, but our 50’ cat could have had a slip in Petersburg, Wrangell, or Sitka for the asking. We selected Petersburg for the milder climate than Sitka and kept our boat there, in the water, for 3 years (at about $350/month - paying for two slips to accommodate our width).

For out of the water, or hauling out in general we found Wrangell to be the best option.

Our overall schedule was the same as yours, we would show up in May, spend a week getting things shipshape, and then put the boat to bed in October. We paid someone local about $10/week to keep an eye on things, check dehumidifier and batteries once a week, and an agreed hourly rate if there was enough snow that it should be cleared (we averaged about once a year). We also paid the same guy to wash the boat a couple of days before our arrival so we should show up to something relatively clean.

If you will be up that far for long enough there are tenting/wrapping/tarping services available, but having a good cover of some kind is beneficial. All-in our costs were about one-third California costs, the harbormasters far friendlier, the docks in better shape (they rebuilt Crescent Harbor in Sitka a couple of years ago, and similar work in Wrangell).

Can’t say enough nice things about the harbors in SE. Only caveat, if you need “yacht” parts you will probably have to get them from the lower 48. LFS can get them in for you if you don’t want to deal with it. OTOH, if it is something that would be found on a fishing boat you can walk a few blocks in any of those towns and pick it up.

PS, the PNW and trawlers are made for each other, you won’t regret it.
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Old 17-09-2023, 19:20   #4
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Re: Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

PM sent with my phone number. Cheers.
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Old 18-09-2023, 08:55   #5
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Re: Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

I'm down on the Foss Waterway in Tacoma- it's a hike to the north sound, San Juans and Vancouver Island, but it's a nice convenient place, and because the water is brackish, any bottom growth is very slow.

I haven't seen many people doing dry storage once they're bigger than a ~25' powerboat but there are a few yards that do long term rates. As mentioned before, it'll be outdoors, and it'll probably be grimy (plus you generally won't be able to wash the boat until you've already splashed.

All this said, the best thing is to figure out where a convenient base is going to be (if you're flying in, how are you getting to the boat, etc), and then work on finding a marina with an opening. Some of the more popular (and more expensive) marinas have very long waits for anything > 40'. Also, moorage is continuing to get more expensive around here, and it seems like $12-15/ft per month is pretty typical.
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Old 18-09-2023, 12:35   #6
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Re: Slip Access in the PNW (WA and Canada)

Thanks for the input.
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Canada, PNW

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