Home Making Waves Making Waves – January 2023

Making Waves – January 2023

by Randy Woods
Making Waves - Boat Show Season

[ mark your calendars ]

From Vancouver to PDX to Seattle, Boat Show Season Arrives in the Northwest

With the start of a fresh new year, the Northwest maritime community is gearing up for a return to full-scale boating shows after years of false starts and reboots. The first one, the Portland Boat Show, launches this month (January 11-15), followed by the Vancouver International Boat Show (February 1-5) and of course, the Seattle Boat Show (February 3-11).

In Portland, the premier boat show for Oregon and Southwest Washington will kick off the 2023 season—the 63rd in its history—with more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Portland Expo Center, the perfect place to enjoy the Rose City while avoiding the winter chill and damp. As one of the largest sportfishing expos in the nation, Portland will feature hundreds of the latest models of ski boats, wakeboards, pontoon boats, cruisers, runabouts, and personal watercraft.

With such an early start in the season, the Portland show is a great venue to get the first glimpse on this year’s new lines and accessories, along with power options and upgrades. Some of the expected highlights include the new 34’ Jeanneau NC 1095 Flybridge from Sundance Yachts; the latest Lund Boats from Pacific Boatland; KEM Equipment’s new LT4 and LSX inboard engines; River City Ravine’s popular Bennington pontoon boats; Torch Craft Marine’s mini-jet-boats; and, Schooner Creek’s 37’ Invincible catamaran with quadruple Mercury Verado outboards (see this month’s Broker’s Best on pages 36-37 for more on this beauty); plus, the latest trends in electric e-foil boards, and much more.

This year will also feature a pre-owned boat sale, for those interested in the best deals for slightly older models. A two-for-one discount offering $15 off of parking prices can also be found at the Portland show’s website: pdxboatshow.com.

Up in Canada, excitement is building for the first in-person Vancouver International Boat Show since a three-year Covid hiatus. The 2023 show—to be held indoors at BC Place and on the water at Granville Island—will feature more than 200 exhibitors offering hundreds of their latest boats and marine gear, plus dozens of informative seminars.

Topics of the sessions include a wide range of boating issues: marine electronics tips, vessel maintenance and repair, environmental stewardship, boating safety advice, sailing as a family, and real-life stories of global ocean cruises. One emphasis in the Vancouver Show seminars will be information for boating newbies. In a series sponsored by Canada’s National Marine Manufacturers Association and called Discover Boating, the Boat Show will provide information for those seeking tips about first-time boat purchases, working with dealers, insurance advice, and navigational basics. More can be found at: vancouverboatshow.ca.

The Seattle Boat Show, organized by the Northwest Marina Trade Association and presented in partnership with Union Marine and the Port of Seattle, is the largest boat show on the West Coast, spanning nine full days, and will be held at Lumen Field Event Center and Bell Harbor Marina. A free shuttle will run continuously between both locations. 

The show floor, measuring three acres, will showcase some of the latest marine gadgets and gear. The event will also include its popular Boat Show U sessions and an extensive list of boating and fishing seminars, many of which will be new this year and focus on technology and innovation (see this month’s feature on pages 44-51 for more details). For entertainment, the Seattle show will host wine and beer nights, a “Dogs on Deck” day which allows your pooch to stroll the aisles with you, and a Kids AquaZone full of family-friendly activities.

Seminar tickets include access to all online and in-person webinars, a 2023 Waggoner Cruising Guide, and multi-day tickets for the full nine-day show. For more specific details about hours, exhibitors, and attractions, go to: SeattleBoatShow.com

Port Updates

[ investing in maritime ]

Maritime ‘Greening’ a Key Part of 2023 Port Budget and 5-Year Plan

Seattle always has focused on the maritime economy, and at the end of November 2022, the Port of Seattle Commission backed up this commitment with an ambitious budget for 2023 and a $5.3 billion five-year capital plan, the largest in the Port’s history.

While most of the funds will be dedicated to improvements and expansion of SeaTac Airport, a significant portion will go towards programs to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from maritime vessels, including cargo ships and cruise ships operating out of Seattle and Tacoma.

The Port’s total capital budget for 2023 is $725.8 million. The 2023 budget, approved by the Commission on November 29, will have operating revenues more than 24% higher than the 2022 budget, total expenses nearly 15% above 2022 levels, and net operating income a whopping 42% above the previous year.

“Our maritime budget includes support for research and conservation—from kelp to killer whales—because protecting our marine environment provides competitive advantages for our maritime tenants,” said Fred Felleman, one of the Port’s commissioners.

The budget plan will invest $276.4 million in the marine terminal modernization and environmental sustainability projects, according to Sam Cho, another Port commissioner. “This budget also funds the completion of Seattle’s Terminal 5, the only new cargo container terminal to open on the West Coast during the course of the pandemic,” Cho said.

In 2023, capital spending will make up 39% of the Port’s budget, and up to 43.5% including projects that are part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a coalition of marine cargo operators in Seattle and Tacoma. The proposed 2023 budget also includes $17.7 million for environmental initiatives and $11.9 million for customer experience initiatives. Some of the maritime-related highlights of the 2023 Port budget include:

  • $1 million for the Port’s Aquarium Strategic Relationship for maritime industries and habitat conservation education.
  • $200,000 to explore maritime economic development opportunities in the offshore wind industry.
  • $200,000 to support exploration of a Green Corridor between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington, in which cruise ships would pledge operate using low GHG-emitting vessels.

“In periods of change, those who can adapt quickly fare best,” said Ryan Calkins, president of the Port of Seattle Commission. “Because of the vital role the Port plays in our local economy, we need to continue to make major strides on transformative initiatives like decarbonizing port-related industries.” For more on the Port’s future plans, go to: portseattle.org.

Making Waves

[ boosting the blue ]

Maritime Blue Accelerates into New Year

Washington Maritime Blue, a statewide coalition of businesses promoting the maritime industry, is poised to begin what looks to be a banner year with the creation of the new One Ocean Innovations Accelerator, as well as the expansion of two other regional initiatives in Tacoma and Seattle to create more interest in marine-related startups and careers.

The One Ocean accelerator is a 12-week course focused on international maritime startups that will help expand Washington’s ocean economy. The program allows qualified startups to receive resources, contact mentors to aid in business development, and attract potential investors to get their ideas off the ground.

The first eight weeks of the program will be conducted through virtual instruction and will be mostly concerned with matchmaking startups with the right personnel and analysis of the regional markets. The second stage of the process entails one-on-one mentoring of entrepreneurs with other experts in the particular startup’s field. Companies will give presentation of their business plans and receive advice on building their venture’s business ecosystem.

The final stage of the incubator will be a showcase day, where startups will make polished presentations before potential investors. If any of the startups attain investment, One Ocean will continue working with them to assist in market entry for the businesses. Some of the expected entrepreneurs in the One Ocean Accelerator will focus on maritime decarbonization, port and shipping logistics, digitalization of maritime operations, renewable energy, sustainable fishing, and advanced manufacturing.

In the South Sound, the Tacoma Marine Innovations Incubator, based out of the Center for Urban Waters, expanded with its Second Wave of cohorts in October 2022. Companies came from Washington state, California, and France. Locally based cohort firms include:

  • Air Mobility (Tacoma) – A marine propulsion company specializing in bladeless powering technology.
  • Homeostasis (Tacoma) – A carbon dioxide removal and utilization startup aiming to convert CO2 emissions into raw materials, such as graphite and carbon black, for industrial applications
  • WhyGrene (Seattle) – A startup that creates “virtual power plants” that provide affordable, green energy for utility power grids. 

Meanwhile, at the end of last year, the affiliated Washington Maritime Blue Accelerator program was entering the final stages of choosing new cohorts for its Fourth Wave. The 2023 program is slated to begin in late February, when the next cohort will be announced.

In other “blue economy” news, the Youth Maritime Collaborative (YMC) completed its Youth Accelerator summer internship project, in which 10 youths from the South King County area were placed with maritime employers Boatsetter, Allosense, and Blue Dot Kitchen. Classes also began in fall of 2022 for YMC’s Expanded Maritime Collab program. Six youths took courses at the Center for Wooden Boats in a six-week program to learn basic sailing skills.

The blue economy is estimated to be worth about $373 billion nationwide, to which Washington state contributes roughly $44 billion. The local blue economy also has ties with other regional sectors, including aerospace, agriculture, clean technology, and life sciences. For more on all of Washington Maritime Blue’s current initiatives and programs, go to: maritimeblue.org.

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