The Scuttlebutt: Port leadership reorganized

Forty knot winds on Liberty Bay? So… where are all the “real” sailors? Guest moorage continues to fill each weekend with yacht club and other visitors. Port meetings continue to be held the first and third Thursday evenings. Although these business meetings are not “town hall” events, the community of port district taxpayers, Marina boaters and all others are encouraged to attend.

Notice: for the 7 p.m. port meeting on Thursday, April 19, commissioners and staff will meet in City Hall Chambers.

Port reorganization

Following many hours of deliberation, study and investigation, the port has revised it management structure. The position of executive director, established several years ago, has been abolished. Now, two management positions have been created: business manager and maintenance manager. Each employee reports directly to the elected commissioners for policy guidance and delegations of authority. The position of maintenance manager is currently vacant, and the first draft of the job description has been discussed. Once approved it will be posted on the port’s website and also available in the port office.

Solicitation for local legal counsel

Occasionally the port, like most businesses and governmental agencies, has a need for the assistance of a local attorney. For “specific” matters unique to Washington public ports, the port retained a recognized legal specialist and firm five years ago, and this firm will continue to advise and represent the port district. However, for “local” matters, which might include contract negotiations, arbitration and mediation of disputes, criminal law, debt collections and insurance, area law firms are being contacted to determine interest. Area practitioners, if interested in working with the port, are welcome to inquire by contacting Business Manager Carol Tripp.

Kudos to maritime history museum

At the port’s mid-March business meeting, representatives (Tom Henderson and David Shields) of the museum discussed the current SS HYAK “wheelhouse” project underway at the museum’s site on Front Street. This relatively new museum has quickly become one of the historical district’s most entertaining, family-friendly attractions. If you haven’t been down for awhile, go and tell them “the port sent me!”

The next maritime event for the museum will be in September at the port’s marina, and will focus on the famous “Poulsbo Boat” built locally years ago by Ronald Young. And… if you missed the annual cod dinner and fundraiser at Sons of Norway a few weeks back… watch for this fun event next March hosted by the historical society.

Cruise ship season begins

American Cruise Lines, headquartered in Guilford, Connecticut, begins its sixth season of weekly visits to Poulsbo and Liberty Bay today (sea and wind conditions permitting). The American Spirit (220 feet) visited Poulsbo the first five years, and will also return in July for port calls through September.

A second ship, the new American Constellation, has been added to the seven day route winding through Puget Sound and ending in Poulsbo on Friday mornings. This ship— passenger capacity 175 guests and 267 feet long! — arrives for anchorage off Liberty Bay Marina around 8:15 a.m. and departs noontime to return to Seattle. The details for both ships and their schedules for approximately 30 visits can be found on the ACL website. Come down to Oyster Park on Fjord Drive on Friday mornings to welcome visitors from all over the U.S. to Poulsbo.

Second annual seaplane fly-in

The Washington Seaplane Pilots Association has again reserved moorage at the marina for Saturday, May 5. The port will relocate floats to facilitate arrivals and departures, which may be observed from Waterfront Park. Maybe you did not know…. the Port of Poulsbo is a FAA-approved Sea Plane Base “airport” with a 12,000 foot runway on Liberty Bay. The marina’s capacity now for accepting float plane moorage, currently one plane at a time, is expected to be expanded in the next few years as part of the capital improvement program. Perhaps someday Poulsbo will have scheduled air service to fun destinations like Victoria, Friday Harbor and Woodinville.

Boating safety weekend

On Saturday, June 9, the port will host key organizations promoting boating safety in Liberty Bay. Representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and USCG Auxiliary, Poulsbo Fire District and Police Department, U.S. Power Squadron, Washington State Parks and Recreation, and others, will be available at the marina.

Concurrently, the Power Squadron, District 16, will host the Annual District 16 Rendezvous, which will run Thursday, June 7 through Saturday. Power Squadron members and guests should contact District 16 for slip and event registration. Families and kids are encouraged to visit the marina on Saturday for “Boating Safety 4 Kids” games and various “sea skills” events.

Words from the waterfront

Congratulations to the Poulsbo Boaters Association (PBA), and Pamela Benson in particular, for publication in the NK Herald of its new series of articles on Poulsbo’s waterfront, Port District, and spectacular Marina. It is true that many folks are not aware that the docks are open to the public, and provide great family entertainment. For example, the arrival and departure of float planes, which can be seen from Waterfront Park also, is always fun to view. As Ms. Benson suggests, you don’t “need a boat to enjoy ‘walking the docks.’”

Port quiz

The last Scuttlebutt’s nautical term was a phrase from World War II: “whole nine yards?” One response from Doug Murray of Poulsbo reflected his Scottish landlubber roots. “For a Scotsman like me, it undoubtedly refers to the amount of fabric used in making a Highlander’s Great Kilt.” However, nowadays, the term means “all of it.” During WWII, tailgunners had ammunition belts 27 feet long. When he ran out of ammo, he would report to the cockpit that he had fired the “whole nine yards.”

How about a new term slightly outside traditional nautical terminology: “face the music?”

Send your best “guess” on this military term to the Port’s email address, The first response with the correct answer will be recognized in The Scuttlebutt’s next issue.

Got a naval term to offer? Don’t be shy… you too can contribute to our community’s nautical heritage and The Scuttlebutt.

Free pubs

Each month two entertaining and informative publications are delivered to the Port for free distribution to the public. 48 North, the Sailing Magazine, and Northwest Yachting, emphasizing power boating, are available from the sliding window on the marina side of the bathhouse (near the ramp to the docks). Each reports boating events scheduled throughout the Northwest, and discusses issues of interest to the boating community…. and as previously noted, they are “free.”

Port email list

The Port’s email list permits the Port Executive Director and staff to efficiently contact Marina boaters, visitors, and Port District residents. If you would like to be on our contact list, please send your name, contact information, and email address to:

Port invitation

The Commissioners, employees, residents, and guests of the Port of Poulsbo (, one of seventy-five Washington State ports, wish you a safe visit to Poulsbo’s spectacular Waterfront Park, and a safe transit on Liberty Bay. Bring your friends and families down to the Port’s Marina and greet our staff and visiting boaters on E and F docks. (Watch us by webcam at

Port Commissioners meet twice monthly to discuss issues and review policies. These meetings are open to members of the public. Mark your calendar for the first and third Thursdays, 1900 (7 pm), and come down to the Port’s floating conference room to find out what’s going in the Port District of Poulsbo.

— Stephen L. Swann is a commissioner of the Port of Poulsbo.

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