Home Community Port of Seattle Acquires Salmon Bay Marina

Port of Seattle Acquires Salmon Bay Marina

by Evin Moore

The Port of Seattle is expanding with the purchase of Salmon Bay Marina, a five-acre marina located adjacent to Fishermen’s Terminal. The marina will be purchased from the current owners for $15.7 million. On top of this, the Port of Seattle will be spending $900,000 on environmental remediation.

Salmon Bay Marina was formerly a privately owned marina with five docks, which provide space for 166 slips or a total of 6,547 lineal feet of moorage on freshwater. The land the marina sits on was purchased by Draper Machine Works Incorporated in 1945 and the marina was opened in 1961. The purchase of the marina from the Draper family ends 72 years of private ownership.

“The purchase of Salmon Bay Marina is a step toward fulfilling our Century Agenda goal to double the number of jobs in our region associated with fishing and maritime and is financially smart for the Port,” said Commission President Tom Albro in a news release from the Port of Seattle. “It also protects urban industrial and maritime land, which is also environmentally wise.” he added. The Century Agenda is the Port of Seattle’s plan to add 100,000 new jobs to the Seattle area over the next 25 years, for a total of 300,000 port-related jobs in the region. The Port wants to do this while simultaneously reducing their environmental footprint. The addition of Salmon Bay Marina, with its 60,000-square-foot space, is a step toward this goal. The space could potentially be used as space for light industry that could support maritime and manufacturing businesses in the area.

Many boaters who use the marina are asking how the purchase will affect them. In a press release, the Port of Seattle has addressed the most frequently asked questions. On the question of whether this will affect moorage rates, the Port has stated that they, like other marinas, annually review their moorage rates using a moorage rate study that compares the rates of other marinas in the region. Because the Port, as per Commission Resolution, is instructed to be run as a business, they must charge market rates, so expect the rates to increase as any private marina would in a strong economy.

Salmon Bay Marina

The proximity of Salmon Bay Marina (sheds, at bottom) should help make it a natural extension of Fisherman’s Terminal (Commercial vessels, at right).


Others are asking if Salmon Bay Marina customers will now have to pay the 12.84% leasehold tax that is required of those leasing public property, such as moorage space. The answer is yes, there will now be a leasehold tax on marina customers. Private marinas are not subject to this tax, so look for private moorage if you need a cheaper rate.

Besides these larger questions, the Port answered easier questions, such as whether there will be free parking; the Port does not anticipate a change to the current parking policy. The Port has stated that they will not be accommodating any guest moorage at this point, but this many be subject to change in the future. A new month-to-month lease will need to be signed by slip holders. When it comes to paperwork the Port has stated that, “All slip holders will be required to present the following: proof of Insurance in the amount of $300,000 (per RCW 53.08.480, coverage shall include general, legal, and pollution coverage), current Washington State Vessel Registration, signed Port Moorage Agreement, and signed Port Best Management Practices policy. Existing liveaboards will also have to fill out the Authorization to Liveaboard document.”

The Port has stated that subleases will not be allowed, the boat houses will be removed, and that a sprinkler system will be added to the docks as a fire deterrent. The marina will be managed by the Port’s Recreational Boating Department, which already manages several marinas. There will be benefits for the slip holders once the Port takes over as owners. “If there is a maintenance issue, our professional craftspeople in Marine Maintenance will be able to respond in a timely manner. There is the ability to pay your moorage fees online. As a Port of Seattle moorage customer, you are eligible to get discounted rates at our other Port marinas. You will have access to the Recreational Boating staff,” the Port stated. For more information, check out portseattle.org and stay tuned for updates.

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