Boathouse is gone from Liberty Bay, but may return soon

The boathouse anchored in Liberty Bay over the past couple months has been moved to Gorst in the Sinclair Inlet, but its owner wants to bring it back to Poulsbo once repairs are finished.

POULSBO — The boathouse that was anchored in Liberty Bay since October has left the shores of Poulsbo — but, perhaps, not for long.

“We are putting the boathouse back together,” owner John Zetty said. “It had damage on one side and some floats came out from underneath.”

On Dec. 9, Zetty fired up the engines on his wooden Owens cabin cruiser that was moored inside the boathouse while the structure was anchored in the bay. Still tied up inside the boathouse, he raised the anchors and moved the boathouse under the power of the cruiser.

“We had good weather,” he said, noting he had spotters for the journey. “We had two other guys with us yelling ‘port, starboard, port, starboard’ for four hours.”

The boathouse was taken to a private shoreline property near Gorst where Zetty is repairing it. He said he has multiple offers to purchase the boathouse, some from port tenants, and others from people around Port Orchard. Zetty would prefer to put the boathouse back into the Port of Poulsbo’s marina, he said.

“I’m holding back on (other sales), because I think we can get back into the port,” Zetty said.

Zetty said, ideally, he would like to sell the boathouse to a current port tenant and put his wooden boat inside to repair it, before selling it. If he can’t store his boat inside while the boathouse is at the port, then he will moor it elsewhere under plastic wrap.

But before any of this can happen, and after the boathouse is repaired in Gorst, Zetty plans to bring the boathouse back to Liberty Bay and anchor it once again with the hopes that a deal can be struck with a port tenant.

The boathouse has previously caught the attention of the state’s  Department of Natural Resources which gave Zetty a 30-day notice to remove the boathouse from Liberty Bay in October. That deadline expired and the department was moving ahead with plans to remove and destroy the structure. Zetty, however, moved it before the department could hire anyone to do so.

Before it was anchored in the bay, the boathouse was at the Port of Poulsbo’s marina. Zetty was evicted from the marina after a series of late moorage payments. The eviction led to a lengthy lawsuit which ultimately determined the port had a right to kick Zetty out.

Port commissioners have frequently stated that Zetty will not be allowed back in the port, even to store his boat during repairs. The commission has said a current tenant could purchase the boathouse and return it to its former slip.