Poulsbo gets more days on cruise ship’s schedule | The Scuttlebutt


For the Port of Poulsbo, the busy May cruise season has concluded.

Readers of The Scuttlebutt have been aware of Poulsbo’s first  large cruise ship visits to Liberty Bay. On five consecutive Friday mornings, dozens of passengers from the M/V American Spirit disembarked here, and were entertained during half-day visits with history and art walking tours, and visits to the Suquamish Museum.

Our guests arrived from states as far east as Virginia, Massachusetts and Florida. Short interviews revealed the unanimous view that Poulsbo was a special place to tour; many indicated their intent to return.

The “Team Cruise” effort has been spectacular. Representatives of the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association of merchants, the Chamber of Commerce, the Poulsbo Marketing Coalition, the Historical Society, the mayor’s office and City Hall, and the Port of Poulsbo have convened frequently to work out details and ensure successful visits to our waterfront community. This “110 percent” effort paid off handsomely — there were no significant missteps, and American Cruise Line repeatedly praised the efforts by all involved. This Connecticut-based cruise line has already published its sailing schedule for 2014, reflecting an expansion of Poulsbo port calls from this year’s 14 to 21 trips next year.

Team Cruise is hopeful that in future visits — including those now scheduled for September and October — passengers will be permitted extended time in Poulsbo and perhaps even an overnight stay. Congratulations to all those who volunteered their time, energy, imagination and ideas.

Through the efforts of our port staff, a second passenger vessel was moored for two weeks at the port. The M/V Lotus, an 104-year-old yacht listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, offered afternoon teas and free tours to the public.

Under the heading “special events” at the port, June 8 is the first annual Marina Day celebration at the Port of Poulsbo Marina. Between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be bluegrass music entertainment, free boat rides and kayak and paddleboat instruction, hot dogs, facepainting, and balloon artists. Representatives of the Power Squadron will also be on hand. Bring your friends and families down to enjoy this event and meet the port staff and commissioners.

Also, watch for more events this summer at the Port of Poulsbo. For example, a special opportunity to visit U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats is planned for Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26. On Friday morning at 1000 (10 a.m. for some folks), there will be a formal Change of Command at Waterfront Park. Details will be published next month in the July edition of The Scuttlebutt.

The Coast Guard’s timing is excellent. With roots extending back to 1790 and the formation of the Revenue Marine Service, Coast Guard Day is the following weekend, on Aug. 4

Historically, it is correct to recognize the United States Coast Guard as our nation’s oldest, continuous seagoing military service. (The Continental Navy disbanded after the end of the Revolutionary War ... just in case you were wondering.)

MAJOR PROJECTS: Two major projects are under review at the Port.

The first is the C Dock Reconfiguration Project, which is intended for replacement of damaged concrete floats and reconfiguration of the gangway to the floating dock.

Nearshore sedimentation and loss of water depth, causing damage to concrete float modules, has necessitated relocation of this dock and a new 80-foot gangway further out. Old creosote piles will be replaced with steel piles, and grated surfaces reducing shading of the water column will replace solid deck surfaces. Importantly, the new ramp will be ADA compliant, with less steep access to the kayak rental and boat moorage facilities.

Also, a D Dock upgrade is being investigated and an engineering proposal has been ordered. One of the ideas includes a 400-foot dock further offshore, in deeper water. The port is hopeful that completion of this expansion project will facilitate at-the-dock moorage of commercial passenger vessels like the M/V American Spirit, which to date has been forced to anchor in deeper water near Liberty Bay Marina.

MEET THE PORT: Last month’s installment of The Scuttlebutt promised to announce the name of the new port manager. After reviewing more than a dozen applications and after interviews of finalists, the commissioners selected Brad Miller to serve the port as its executive director.

Brad, well-known to most of our tenants at the marina and many residents of the Port District, has served as a maintenance technician for the port since 2007. He has a B.S. degree in outdoor recreation management from Appalachian State University and a Coast Guard-issued captain’s license. Before returning to Poulsbo, he and his wife owned Coastal Outdoor Center, in St. Augustine, Fla., where he performed many of the duties to which he is now assigned.

Following service as temporary port manager for three months in early 2012, Brad was awarded a letter of commendation for his exemplary performance by the Board of Commissioners.

Folks familiar with the Port of Poulsbo most certainly understand the somewhat delicate balance required to serve as harbormaster, market the port beyond its borders, manage the marina and its tenants and visitors, and interact with the city and Port District merchants and residents, while all along keeping the commissioners “happy.”

Welcome aboard, Brad.

PORT QUIZ: Last month’s “pea coat” question went unanswered. The short answer is that the term pea coat originated in 1723 from the special “pilot” cloth material named “P-cloth” used to keep sailors warm in the eighteenth century.

OK, how about this one? For centuries, sailors have been placed on the “binnacle list.” What is the special qualification for making this list? Send your best “guess” to The first responder with the correct answer will be acknowledged in The Scuttlebutt July issue.

Want to offer a nautical quiz question for next month? Just send an email with your suggestion.

The commissioners, employees, tenants and guests of the Port of Poulsbo (, one of 75 Washington state ports, wish you a safe visit to Poulsbo’s spectacular Waterfront Park, and a safe transit on Liberty Bay. Bring your friends and families down to the port’s marina and greet our visiting, weekend boaters on E and F docks.

Watch us by webcam at

— Stephen L. Swann is a Poulsbo port commissioner. Email him at


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