Port of Port Angeles to raise boat-slip rates

Change coming in January marks second straight year of price increases.

Port of Port Angeles to raise boat-slip rates

PORT ANGELES — Boat-slip rates at the Port of Port Angeles’ two public marinas will increase in January for the second straight year.

The per-foot rate that grew 2.8 percent at the beginning of this year will increase another 1.4 percent on New Year’s Day 2017, port commissioners unanimously decided Monday.

The increase will not apply to renters who park their yachts and other large vessels in 50- and 60-foot slips at John Wayne Marina east of Sequim.

“My objective with increasing marina rates is to reduce the amount of subsidy the port is contributing to operating the marinas,” Commissioner Steve Burke said Wednesday in an email.

“I would like to see both marinas move closer to not having to rely on being subsidized by other lines of business that the port operates.”

But William Spring, who rents a Boat Haven slip in Port Angeles and been an active critic of rate increases, said Thursday the increase was unjustified given what he said were low marina occupancy rates.

A 30-foot slip at the Boat Haven that costs a vessel owner $5.91 a foot, or $2,127 a year now, will cost $30 more annually beginning in January.

A 30-foot slip at John Wayne Marina that costs a vessel owner $7.40 a foot, or $2,664 a year now, will cost $37 more annually beginning in January.

Jerry Ludke, port airport and marina manager, said Wednesday the commissioners’ goal is for owners of all moorage rates at the Boat Haven to reach 90 percent of the average rate for eight area marinas, including facilities at Port Townsend, Neah Bay and Quilcene.

The goal for John Wayne Marina is 110 percent of that average, the rate already charged there for 50- and 60-foot slips, Ludke said.

“They are already at our target,” Ludke said.

“John Wayne should be at 110 percent,” he added.

“It’s a nicer marina if you will.”

In pursuit of the 90 percent and 110 percent rate thresholds, commissioners have pledged to limit annual rate increases to the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent “to give our tenants as much predictability as possible on what future rates may look at,” Burke said in his email.

Ludke said that goal could be reached in two or three years depending on rates as they change at the eight marinas being used for comparison.

“Nobody likes to pay more, but it’s not going to be a huge increase,” he said of the upcoming hike.

Burke said in his email that the port subsidizes John Wayne Marina with $200,000 annually, including administrative costs and depreciation.

He said the amount for the Boat Haven is $50,000 annually.

“These numbers are based on if both marinas are at 80 percent occupancy,” Burke said.

But Spring said moorage occupancy continues to decline on a a year-round basis at Boat Haven.

“In light of that, it continues to make unusually poor business sense to continue to raise rates,” he said.

“The port continues to make what seems to be extravagant claims for administrative costs and depreciation.”

Spring was on a port marina advisory committee that was formed in 2014 but has suffered numerous resignations, he said.

“Most of us resigned with great disillusionment after they refused to allow input on rates and after the port failed to implement any marketing efforts as recommended by the advisory committee,” Spring said.

Commissioners Colleen McAleer and Connie Beauvais did not return calls for comment early Wednesday afternoon.

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