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Aging Seabeck Marina may get upgrade

Mark Smith lifts one of the aging, mold-covered planks from a pier of the Seabeck Marina.  If Smith can find investors in the current sluggish economy, he plans to upgrade the marina with new piers and double marina capacity. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Mark Smith lifts one of the aging, mold-covered planks from a pier of the Seabeck Marina. If Smith can find investors in the current sluggish economy, he plans to upgrade the marina with new piers and double marina capacity.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

They say the sea is a harsh mistress.

That usually applies to sailors and ships — but marinas get a beating, too.

Seabeck Marina is on its last legs, said owner and “harbormaster” Mark Smith.

Located in downtown seabeck on the often tumultuous Hood Canal, the old wooden marina creaks and groans and could use an upgrade.

“In 1990, a big storm took it completely out,” said Smith. The marina was rebuilt, and has been there in some form since the 19th Century, he said.

But the Hood Canal is a large body of water, and large bodies of water often generate sea-sized waves in a good storm — which is why the marina needs rebuilding and protection with tough, modern materials.

However: “All my possible investors, locally, dropped out when the stock market took a dive,” he said. The country has been in recession since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

Smith said he’s still looking for investors, but “things have stalled for now.”

He estimates it will take about $7 million to double the marina’s size, build longer-lasting concrete docks instead of wood docks, and erect a wind and wave buffer.

The marina has 125 slips capable of docking boats 16- to 25-feet in length, he said. The marina is home to about 70 boats now. During the shrimping and crabbing season, May-October, the marina is packed.

Plans call for 225 slips with concrete docks, a brick wall for tourists to fish from, and a “fixed-panel” concrete wall floating at a point in the canal to protect the marina from storms.

“You can’t build a spit out there with a pile of rocks the way you used to,” he said, due to salmon concerns. The concrete buffer will float five to eight feet off the canal floor and keep boats in the marina from being tossed about in stormy weather.

“There’s lots of history here,” he said. At one point, a ferry ran between the Seabeck Marina and Bremerton.

“It’s an ongoing battle to keep the marina in shape,” said Smith, who bought the facility several years ago. He also owns Washington First Choice Real Estate, and Global Construction. He’s lived in the area for 8 to 9 years, and keeps his own boat there. “The marina doesn’t pay for itself” in it’s “rotting” condition.

He believes in the marina, however.

“It’s an ideal location — right on the Hood Canal,” he said, adding that once it’s fixed up, more boaters will use it.

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