Marina Moorings, Port of Skagit


August 23, 2023

The smoke from fires across the western U.S. and Canada is across the sky, and with it we have people coming in who cannot get home due to the fires in their home areas. We have had a family from Maui here as well, and they are wondering not just “when” they can go back but “if.” Everyone else we have spoken with is waiting for either Highway 20 to reopen or one of the Canadian fires to die down enough they can pass through the affected areas.

We had the largest vessel of the year put in yesterday, at 114 feet long. It was really impressive to watch it turn around in the channel! I know it was an illusion, but it looked like the boat was touching each side of the channel as it spun slowly to starboard. They handled it flawlessly and left the marina as smoothly as any weekend runabout.

Safety and Maintenance: Our dockhands handle lines for many boats per day, and the biggest safety factor they observe is boats moving too fast while docking. Remember, slower is better! Take it easy with the throttles, being careful not to put on too much momentum. The boat will respond slightly after the throttles are applied, so anticipate this delay.

Remember that you do not have any brakes. Reverse is adding acceleration, not just slowing the vessel. Put on too much reverse and the boat will surge back. Put on too much brake in your car and it will eventually stop – a significant difference.

Speaking of moving too fast, we have had two incidents this week where operators got ahead of themselves. The first was in the RV park, where a guest backed into the power pedestal of the neighboring site as he was leaving. He thought he had enough room behind and so his spotter moved around to the other side of the vehicle. The second was on F dock, where a boater got in a hurry and did not take time to methodically run his departure checklist. He was out in the channel when he looked back and saw the yellow shore power cable streaming behind him. Luckily the sharp edge of the pedestal sliced through the cord like a knife, so repairs are minimal.

Slow down, go step by step, and save time in the end.

See you on the Channel!

— Chris Omdal, harbormaster


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