DAVID G. SELLARS ON THE WATERFRONT: Lots of money to tie up a big cruise ship

SEVERAL READERS HAVE sent e-mails inquiring about the fees the Holland America Line cruise ships Zuiderdam and Statendam paid when they docked in Port Angeles last month.

The answer to this question is found by going to the Port of Port Angeles’ website, www.portofpa.com, clicking on the “Marine Facilities” tab, then the “Tariffs” tab.

It is there that the established passenger traffic fee (head tax) can be found at $7.75 per booked passenger on each ship.

If each ship were at full capacity — which I don’t believe was in either case — the Zuiderdam, with an advertised capacity of 1,848 passengers would have paid $14,322.

The smaller Statendam at full song would have paid $9,749.50.

The dockage fee varies by the size of the ship.

In the case of the 951-foot-long Zuiderdam, dockage was around $16,670.55 when she parked at the port’s T-pier on May 7.

For the Statendam at 720 feet, her dockage was around $8,510 for her May 19 visit.

These calculations are based on my rudimentary math skills and questionable ability to read and follow the port’s guidelines that establish the fees.

Although the total of the fees paid by both ships to the port, potentially $49,252.05, seems like a lot of money, there are numerous expenses that were incurred that eat away at the total.

First and foremost, it is necessary to understand that providing services in Port Angeles for cruise ships and their passengers is an atypical event.

The port docks are an industrial complex at which infrastructure, security and available services are tailored for use by tankers, barges and cargo ships seeking topside repair and cargo handling.

Frequent meetings were held by port personnel among themselves and with various civic organizations and participating vendors to coordinate an orderly and pleasurable visiting experience for the ships’ passengers.

Tents that were used along the docks had to be rented, erected and dismantled. Extra security was called in to direct foot traffic and vehicles alike.

Longshoremen were required to assist in the arrival and departure of the ships, and a crane and an operator were necessary to place and remove the gangway.

The reason for the seemingly large charges for the ships to use the Port of Port Angeles’ facilities is that there are an abundant number of expenses involved to accommodate their requirements.

Predicted log contest

On May 8, the Port Angeles Yacht Club held a predicted log contest in British Columbia from Van Isle Marina in Sidney to Discovery Island, located 3 miles east of Oak Bay.

The concept of a predicted log contest is similar to a road rally for autos.

The course was 19 miles long with a number of fixed waypoints, and the only navigational instrument that is used is a compass.

Participants must use a “fixed throttle” for the event. Prior to starting out, each boat traverses a measured mile to determine its respective throttle setting for the contest from which the captain of the boat cannot deviate under penalty of disqualification.

Although the starting time for the event was flexible, all participants must cross the finish line between noon and 12:15 p.m. on the day of the event.

Al Davis, a former commodore of the yacht club and last year’s winner, had said in the past that this type of race is all about the navigator and that the boat captain is all but irrelevant.

This year, Al apparently had a “lead throttle” because his boat, Pearl, a 45-foot wooden Chris Craft, was disqualified for speeding because he arrived at the finish line a minute early.

Jim Ball was the navigator aboard Pearl, and Dan Davis, Al’s son, was the observer.

Al Gross, a 12-time winner and perennial favorite aboard Eldorado, a 35-foot Chris Craft that he has owned for over 50 years, was also disqualified for missing one of the checkpoint buoys. Gross’ son, Gary, was the navigator and son, Rick, was the observer.

Tatoosh, a 45-foot Chung Hwa trawler owned by Frank Benson with Bob Brummett as navigator and Jon Rourke acting as the observer, came in second to this year’s winner, Sunny Sue.

Sunny Sue, last year’s second-place finisher, is owned and skippered by Steve DeBiddle, who won this year’s event in only his second attempt.

Chris Zook, the 36-foot Sabre’s former owner, was the navigator, and Paul Downes was the observer.

Back off

Despite the current weather pattern, summer is fast upon us.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is cautioning all boaters to stay at least 100 yards away from southern resident orca whales, and any boaters which unexpectedly comes into closer proximity to orcas is required to stop immediately and allow the killer whales to pass.

The southern resident orca population, which currently includes about 90, is classified as “endangered” by both the state and the federal governments.

These animals, which mostly travel the waters of northern Puget Sound, account for the majority of orca whales found in Washington from early spring to late fall, said Rocky Beach, Fish and Wildlife’s wildlife diversity division manager.

One of the major threats to their survival is the disruption caused by passing vessels.

The state Legislature approved a state law regulating boating activity around orca whales in 2008.

Since then, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued 10 citations and dozens of warnings to overly curious recreational boaters and those foolish enough to try and feed the orcas.

Violating the state law can and will result in a fine of up to $1,025.

In for repairs

The MY Transition, a 48-foot Tollycraft, is in the Commander building at Platypus Marine at Marine Drive and Cedar Street in Port Angeles.

Capt. Charlie Crane, director of sales and marketing, said personnel are sandblasting the fiberglass hull from the waterline to the keel to eliminate blisters that have formed over time.

An epoxy barrier will be applied to the hull, and she will then get a new coat of bottom paint.

Platypus hauled White Wing, a 48-foot custom-built sailboat, out of the water for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

According to Capt. Charlie, the mast and rigging have been removed and the entire boat will be sanded down, primed and painted. Personnel will also remove and replace all of the teak decking.

In one of Platypus Marine’s numerous satellite buildings sits Mary Lee, a 43 foot Egg Harbor.

Carpenters are fabricating and rebuilding rotted framing on the wooden boat and replacing bottom planking.

The project will take about a month to complete, according to Capt. Charlie.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the waterfront.

Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. E-mail [email protected] or phone him at 360-417-3736. His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday.

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