Aquaculture could improve Liberty Bay water quality | The Scuttlebutt

That Liberty Bay’s water quality has suffered deterioration over the years is beyond debate. The port has cooperated with concerned residents and boaters, and worked to expand pump-out services, both at the docks and for anchored vessels in the bay.

Another opportunity to clean the bay, which suffers by not being capable of effectively flushing its water, is being investigated by the port. There has been expressed interest in establishing a “floating upweller system” — aka FLUPSY — in the marina. Simply described, this is a floating barge functioning as a nursery for shellfish, clams and oysters. Shellfish would consume the overly-abundant algae growing in the bay, thus serving as aquatic filters. The port is working with the Department of Ecology and the City of Poulsbo on what permits would be required for a marina FLUPSY. Stay tuned.

Dockside Wi-Fi at last?: One of the complaints registered by guest boaters and marina residents has been the poor quality of Wi-Fi on the docks. Working with Kitsap Public Utilities District over the last year has been successful in a plan to bring the marina into the 21st century! Hopefully, by year’s end, the marina community will be served by Wi-Fi. Credit for this breakthrough goes to Brad Miller, the port’s executive director.

Qualifications of port commissioners: Another election season is upon us, and voters in the Port District will have the opportunity to choose, for a six-year term, a new commissioner. The Port of Poulsbo is one of 75 port districts in Washington and has three commissioners. Statutory law (RCW 53.12.010) establishes the qualification:

“Only a registered voter who resides in the commissioner district may be a candidate for, or hold office as, a commissioner of the commissioner district; and … only voters of a commissioner district may vote at a primary to nominate candidates…. Voters of the entire port district may vote at a general election to elect a person as a commissioner of the commissioner district.”

Because the Port District, a separate jurisdictional entity, is substantially smaller than Poulsbo city limits — about one-half in size — many city residents will not be voting to fill the vacancy for the next commissioner. Perhaps someday the city and the port will share the same “footprint.” This is what the last unsuccessful annexation effort was about.

Boater education and the Power Squadron: The U.S. Power Squadron ( is recognized in boating circles as a major proponent of boater education. Its quarterly publication for members is “Ensign.” Recent articles have addressed: anchoring under power, filing insurance claims, and mastering marlinspike (knots, etc.) For the newer boater, the Power Squadron’s monthly publication, “Compass,” offers tips and advice. Check out “Compass” at

Port quiz: Last month’s nautical term was “skylarking.” I can best define this term from a personal experience aboard my first Coast Guard ship, the CGC McCulloch.

While in the middle of the Atlantic on a sunny Sunday afternoon doing “rubber docking exercises” with a ship’s life ring, I, as a relatively new ensign, was positioned on the deck above the bridge. I was supposed to be helping as lookout while another ensign maneuvered our ship along the floating life ring. Because I was “skylarking,” we never found the ship’s life ring — to say the CO was upset is an understatement!

Now for a more academic explanation: sailors aboard square-rigged ships enjoyed sliding down from high aloft the rigging’s backstays for fun (which could be quite dangerous). The ancient term “lac” meant to play, and the activity was first termed “skylacing.” Later corruption transformed this into skylarking.

How about this new nautical phrase: “taking the wind out of the sails?” Send your best guess on this nautical term to commis 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,” for power boaters, 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 ( 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 the public. Mark your calendar for the first and third Thursdays, 1900 (7 p.m.), 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 member of the Port of Poulsbo Board of Commissioners. Contact him at