PT boating season opens with a parade

PORT TOWNSEND — How do you declare that boating season is officially open?

You invite everyone in town who has access to a boat to join you on the water.

On Saturday, the Port Townsend Yacht Club invited the public not only to watch the opening day parade along the downtown waterfront, but also to participate in it.

Co-sponsored by the Northwest Maritime Center, the event drew everything from big yachts and sailboats to small rowboats.

“We wanted all boating enthusiasts to feel comfortable joining in this informal celebration of the boating season,” said Fred Bell, who, as the club’s fleet commander, organized the parade.

“We made a definite effort to expand this into a community event.”

Founded in 1947, the Port Townsend Yacht Club annually celebrates the opening day of boating season a week after the Seattle Yacht Club’s observance, Bell said.

The parade has been a tradition since the mid-1950s, but several years ago, members decided to widen participation.

This year, they invited the Coast Guard to participate.

The cutter Osprey, with 15 guests aboard, led the parade, which got off to a slightly late start because the ferry was delayed.

But once the ferry left the dock and was on its way, boats started lining up near the entry to the Port Townsend Boat Haven and followed the cutter along the waterfront.

Reaching the Northwest Martime Center dock, each boat or group of boats passed in review in front of Port Townsend Yacht Club Commodore Dave Weeding, exchanging a salute, a wave or other acknowledgment.

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