Letters to the Editor

Port’s contract for boat owners is overzealous

In spite of the vacancy rate at the marina, Poulsbo port commissioners are contemplating rule changes that may have the effect of purging many vessels from the marina. The owners of those vessels have made a substantial contribution through the years to the running of the Port of Poulsbo.

Many boaters were under the impression that the new insurance requirement would satisfy the port’s anxieties about older vessels — that once the Coast Guard test for essential boating equipment had been met and insurance obtained, a boat satisfied the legitimate concerns of the port. Instead, the adoption of a one-size-fits-all standard will cause further attrition of established tenants while new expansion plans are tailored to provide increased moorage for large commercial boats and seaplanes.

The days of affordable moorage for the middle class are quickly passing away. It is not only the tourists who spend money on Front Street.

The increasingly intrusive trend in recent port requirements does not take into consideration the variety of reasons behind boat ownership or the transitional character of many boats that have been, for whatever reason, stable fixtures at the marina. To sacrifice these now on the altar of a belief that they pose a unique hazard, sitting harmlessly in their assigned berths, is an example of the port’s current imperial style of rule. The port is forcing tenants to sign one-sided agreements and adhere to ever more intrusive requirements in order to simply remain where they are.

One would have thought that such language as this, drawn from the recent Moorage License Agreement, would meet all legitimate concerns:

“All of the Licensee’s property at the berthage space and/or Poulsbo Marina shall be at the risk of licensee. Port shall not be held liable and Licensee hereby waives all claims and recourse against Port, including right to contribution, for any loss, claim, theft, injury or damage to any person or property on or about the berthage space and/or Poulsbo Marina from any cause whatsoever, including latent defects.”

In light of this language, why are commissioners so alarmed? Surely a less intrusive policy that honors past practice would be adequate to meet any legitimate concern.

Sheila Mengert


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