The Port of Edmonds went to the boat show.
This is the fifth year that the Port has participated in the big Seattle International Boat Show. Each year our involvement has contributed to our overall marketing efforts, which have in turn paid big dividends for the Port and the community.
As I will explain, a boat in the slip means money into the community, and that makes it an essential part of our economic development mandate. It doesn’t happen by chance, however. It means maintaining a high profile in good times and bad.
There are those who would ask why a marina that has a waiting list has a need to market at all. The Port provides moorage and services to over a thousand boats every year, and every year a few tenants and customers leave. To stay healthy and viable, the Port needs to fill those vacancies.
So doesn’t our waiting list take care of that? In many cases, yes, but for slips in the 30-foot and under range there are still moorage opportunities. And although we have names on waiting lists for the larger slips, the wait time for them is significantly less than it once was.
Staffing a booth at the boat show every year pays off. Last year, for example, 33 boat owners signed up as a direct result of the boat show.
Our marketing efforts don’t stop there. Over and over we hear about guests who have come because they heard good things about the marina and the community. Part of that is due to our innovative Destination Port of Edmonds program.
Since we began the promotion six years ago we have hosted nearly 17,000 boats for a total of 29,000 nights in guest moorage. As part of our service to them, in two years we have provided 156 courtesy shuttles for 357 people to the downtown Edmonds shopping area.
Besides these larger vessels, every year we launch anywhere from 2,100 to 3,000 smaller boats that arrive on trailers.
By whatever means people get here, they buy fuel and avail themselves of Port services. There are over 80 vendors who offer mechanical and structural repairs, handle hazardous waste, or do underwater work on boat bottoms or props. There are other businesses providing boat detailing, sail repairs and carpet cleaning.
Each of these businesses employ people who eat in Edmonds restaurants, shop at local grocery stores and buy the many things that our stores offer. The number of jobs associated with these services is substantial.
The ongoing marketing of the Port of Edmonds—in support of our sterling reputation for customer service—is the principal reason we enjoy notably higher occupancy than other marinas. The entire Edmonds community benefits when the Port is flourishing and well recognized.
Bob McChesney is Executive Director of the Port of Edmonds.