By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
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"The fishing boats are coming back," Jim Pivarnik said of the commercial vessels lost to Alaska boat yards when the port's haul-out and storage rates went up three years ago.
"The good news is, business is coming back. It will probably save us."
Overall, however, Pivarnik said port figures show there were 103 boats hauled out in September compared with 93 in August, nothing spectacular for the time of year when commercial and recreational vessels are pulling out of the water for routine winter maintenance.
Pivarnik believes the truth will come this month and November.
"If we don't make it in November, its going to be a long, cold winter," the deputy director said.
The port commissioners in June cut the cost of hoisting a boat from the water by 50 percent, effective July 1 to March 31.
The cost of using the 70-ton lift dropped to $90, and the cost of the 300-ton lift was cut to $325.
The port is also offering Monday-Thursday moorage discounts at both the Boat Haven and Point Hudson marinas.
All discounts are intended to drive new business to the boat yard in a sagging economy and create a ripple effect into the community, with boat owners investing in hardware, food and lodging while they stay in Port Townsend.
Boat yard users receive a 20 percent discount off their total bills if a project on land takes more than 30 days.
With the discount, the cost of keeping a boat in the yard will be calculated at 34 cents per foot per day, about 10 cents cheaper than normal.
Perhaps a positive sign: More sailboats were hauled out in July than ever before -- 100 -- breaking the old record by one.
The port budgeted $20,000 to advertise in maritime publications.
The port also uploaded information on its Web site at www.portofpt.com.
The port is also mailed notification cards to those who have hauled out their boats in Port Townsend over the past three years.
The incentives have been under consideration with Port work and ship yard activity decreasing dramatically since 2006.
Port boat yard business has dropped off about a 40 percent from that high point.
Marine Trades operators have raved about the discounts, saying it has helped bring back business back that was lost three years ago.
Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.