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Sunday, September 17, 2006 

Low & Dry in Blaine Marina

Blaine and Semiahmoo Marina boaters have been left low and dry by recent events. Trillium Corp, a developer and land owner over at Semiahmoo Resort, has decided to not renew Blaine Marine Services lease for their boatyard and gas dock. The land has gotten to be more valuable for condos with even the area for the gas storage tanks in too prime an area. From what I've heard the gas lines are pretty old and corroded as well.

This leaves area recreational boaters pretty much without a gas dock and yard. Blaine Marine Services does have a small yard, but it is limited and you can't DIY your boat there. There is a more commercial yard and gas dock at the end of the peninsula, but they are oriented to larger fishing boats and vessels.

Large power boats that need several hundred gallons of fuel at a time probably won't have too much trouble. But I fill up Maggie May's 20 gallon tank about 3 times a year whether it needs it or not. They aren't going to be very interested in passing down a small line to pump 10 gallons of gas.

There are several yards in Bellingham, one, Padden Creek is changing hands. Point Roberts has a small yard, again you can't do you own work. More distant are some up in the South Fraiser River, Sidney or Anacortes.

So what's a poor boater to do? It's all well and good to make the most of the land, but the recreational attractions that make it valuable in the first place need infrastructure. I guess the developers just want the boats to sit there and look pretty.

Scuttlebutt and a conversation with Blaine Marina office workers revealed a couple of interesting goings-on. The first is that the Port of Bellingham, who runs Blaine Marina, is conducting meetings and starting to work the problem. The second is that all of the tenants out on the end of the peninsula, mostly warehouses and seasonal crab processing plants, want out of their leases. That would open up a lot of land for the port to develop. So there may be space available in the future and an obvious business opportunity for someone to open a yard and fuel dock oriented to recreational boaters with smaller wallets. This is all a new problem and the port understands boaters' concerns and is doing their best to get a handle on the problem.

Hopefully the port can come up with quick ideas to deal with the immediate fuel issue, while they work a more long-term solution. The closing of yards, gas docks and other services, is hurting the marine industry and traditional recreational opportunities.

Have you lost a marine service in your area? Leave a comment below.

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About Jack

  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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