The Northwest Maritime Center. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

The Northwest Maritime Center. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

COVID-19 impacts maritime training

Wooden Boat Building School and Maritime Center restricting operations until at least April 27

PORT TOWNSEND — Officials at the Northwest Maritime Center and the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building have closed their facilities to the public and canceled classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The School of Wooden Boat Building has its campus closed until April 27 or until Gov. Jay Inslee announces it’s safe to reopen and Maritime Center has canceled all events at least through April.

“Things are uncertain and moving faster than any of us can calibrate,” said Jake Beattie, executive director of the Maritime Center in an letter released Wednesday afternoon.

“In short, it’s our perfect storm.”

Beattie said in a letter issued Wednesday afternoon that the maritime center has a diverse offering of programs and experiences, “but our organization is still highly seasonal, and this pandemic hit at the end of our ‘bleeding months.’

“We have now canceled two fundraising events, and school closures have led us to cancel at least half of our spring season of programming.”

The 52 staff members of the maritime center have been either furloughed on temporary unpaid leave or are working drastically reduced hours — including Beattie — and will have to have to apply for unemployment benefits from the state, Beattie said.

“We are not doing a “Save the NWMC” type of fundraiser. This is what it is and there are bigger issues in the world than us right now,” Beattie said in the letter. “We are giving people the opportunity to help raise the $70,000 needed to provide 90 days of health benefits for our furloughed staff.”

To be a part of that effort, follow this link:

Summer events such as the Race to Alaska and the Wooden Boat Show are still being planned at this point, but it is unknown if they will proceed at this time, Beattie said.

Another concern of the maritime center is that the struggling stock market will restrict available philanthropic resources, with bulk of the resources rightly going towards the needed health and human services needs, he said.

The Maritime Center will be in a hibernation period until things are stabilized, but will continue to manage essential services such as processing payments and registrations, filing taxes, planing the Wooden Boat Festival and races and producing the 480 North Magazine, Beattie said.

The School of Wooden Boat Building’s campus is closed to the public and all classes have been on hold since Tuesday in line with the other school districts in the county, said Betsy Davis, executive director.

Administrative staff are working in isolated offices or remotely for the time being and the teams are doing what they can to be ready to resume classes and normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so, Davis added.

“We are extremely focused on ensuring a strong start right out of the gate when the school’s doors are allowed to re-open,” Davis said.

“The skill sets and confidence that students develop as they learn trades at the Boat School are timeless in value and may become even more valuable for people trying to navigate the uncertain future that lies ahead.”

The Boat School is still accepting and reviewing applications for programs beginning in October, Davis said.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

More in News

Betsy Reed Schultz, head of the Captain Joseph Foundation, sits in the library of the Captain Joseph House in Port Angeles as the respite home for Gold Star families prepares for its first guests this weekend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Captain Joseph House to welcome its first families

Respite center first in nation of its kind

Quilcene Bay is currently closed to shellfish harvesting

Beach the latest in Jefferson County to be closed due to PSP

Clallam County to hire addiction counselor for needle exchange

Move is part of pilot project to link clients with services

As flower-cutting season gives way to pumpkin selection, Kaya Mindlin of Port Townsend picks dahlias and statice at Wilderbee Farm just outside the city. Fall temperatures are expected to remain in the mid to upper 60s this week with an increasing chance of a few showers by the weekend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/For Peninsula Daily News)
Fall scenery

As flower-cutting season gives way to pumpkin selection, Kaya Mindlin of Port… Continue reading

Jefferson County estuary to be restored

Duckabush gets grant of more than $19M

Jeffco commissioners approve new building lot regulations

Change could lead to more development in substandard lots

School outbreaks driving numbers in Jefferson County

Clallam County remains in moderate-risk category

Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsual News Group
Firefighters from Clallam County Fire District 3 respond to a house fire on the 200 block of North Dunlap Avenue.
Sequim house fire quelled

No injuries were reported in a fire at a Sequim… Continue reading

Most Read