Getting ready to welcome American Cruise Lines | The Scuttlebutt

American Cruise Lines will visit Poulsbo on Fridays beginning May 3.                                -  American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines will visit Poulsbo on Fridays beginning May 3.
— image credit: American Cruise Lines

Port of Poulsbo commissioner

The next major public event at the Port of Poulsbo is the visit of the M/V American Spirit, a large cruise ship arriving the morning of May 3.

American Cruise Lines, with American-registered ships and American crews, is headquartered in Connecticut and has included Poulsbo on its seven-day excursions out of Seattle. Weekly departures from Seattle head for Friday Harbor, Anacortes, Port Angeles, and Port Townsend; Poulsbo is the final destination for the ship returning to Seattle the following Friday afternoons.

The Port is expecting approximately 100 visitors to Poulsbo around 8:30 a.m. each Friday in May. Port calls begin again in September and October.

Planning over the last several months has included, in addition to the Port, the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association, the Poulsbo Marketing Coalition, the Chamber of Commerce, the mayor’s office, and many others. Our cruise committee has tapped the enthusiasm of numerous volunteers and continues to invite ideas from residents.

The Port has arranged for a brass band, the Clam Island Band, to welcome the ship upon arrival. Sea chanters Time and Tide will perform at departure.  Shop owners plan to open earlier and our visitors will be offered tours by the Chamber of Commerce, Poulsbo Historical Society, and others. Poulsbo Vikings will be on hand to welcome the American Spirit, which will anchor just southwest of the marina breakwater.

A Coast Guard Marine Safety Zone, with a 500-foot radius, will restrict boating traffic around the anchorage.

To better facilitate other cruise ship visits to Poulsbo, the Port is investigating expansion of our docks. Commercial vessels dockside are currently limited to around 100 feet in length.

Additionally, the Port is working with Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and studying whether a federal anchorage zone for Liberty Bay can be established. This is especially significant for ships exceeding 200 feet in length.

Continuing on the subject of planning ahead, the Port’s draft Comprehensive Scheme update will be available for public comment in April. The draft will be posted on for review and comment. Additionally, residents of the Port District are being invited to respond to our postcard questionnaire regarding this important planning document.

The Port and the City of Poulsbo continue to monitor derelict vessels in Liberty Bay. Our legislators in Olympia are working on a bill to strengthen existing law and provide better funding for the state’s removal program. The abandoned M/V Deep Sea in Penn Cove cost taxpayers more than $5 million for clean-up. Even more outrageous was the need to spend $22 million for the M/V Davy Crockett disaster on the Columbia River.

A $1 million cleanup in Liberty Bay or the Port’s marina could be devastating. For a small Port District like Poulsbo, such a disaster could put the Port out of business.

Jurisdiction over derelict vessels lies with the City of Poulsbo for Liberty Bay and the Port District for the marina. Suspected offenders should be reported to the Police Department or Port District manager.

The Port will begin interviewing applicants for the Port District manager position in early April. More than a dozen individuals are competing for this important position, which hopefully will be filled in May.

Finally, special kudos to the crews of two sailboats who jointly rescued a capsized kayak on a recent Sunday afternoon in Liberty Bay. With no duty rescue boat at the Port, we rely heavily on the boating community to provide search and rescue assistance. As the boating season picks up, this becomes even more important. Good job!

Port Quiz: The “pogey bait” quiz was won by two area sailors, Dave Black and Charlie Morgan. The simple answer: pogey bait is a reference to snack items (candy, etc.) found aboard ship in the ship’s store (termed the gedunk) and not generally served in the mess.

OK, how about this one: What is the nautical source of the term “feeling blue”? Send your best guess to The first three responders with the correct answer will be acknowledged in the May issue of The Scuttlebutt.

The Port of Poulsbo wishes you a safe visit and a safe transit on Liberty Bay.


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