Marina is Port Orchard’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’

Port of Bremerton Director of Marine Facilities Steve Slaton presented his annual report on Port Orchard’s marine facilities to the city council on Monday night and his predictions were as shiny as the paper his presentation was printed on.

“People come out of their way to visit the Port Orchard Marina,” Slaton said, alleging that $694 million was spent last year on new and used boats by individuals in Washington state. A boater himself, Slaton said even he was shocked by the figure.

“This is a huge industry,” Slaton said.

According to Slaton, visiting boaters who tie up in Port Orchard’s marina should be considered tourists. There were 6,400 “Boat-Days” in 2004, that is 6,400 boats that docked in the marina for at least one day.

With more than one person aboard, Slaton said, that’s around 15,000 people.

According to Slaton, more than 800 marina reservations had already been confirmed as of the first week of February.

The port’s projects for 2005 include lighting and sidewalk renovation, an update of the fuel dock, the rebuilding on the Kitsap Transit Terminal that was demolished this week and the necessary repairs needed to open the Harper Fishing Pier in July. Slaton said the design has been approved and the Port is currently in the permitting process.

Working in both recreational and economic development, Slaton used an Army Cops of Engineers formula to calculate the impact this many people have on the city.

According to Slaton, individuals contribute $380,865 yearly for boat and vehicle costs. They spend $432,312 buying food. Accommodations for tourists bring in $141,389 and $53,077 is spent on miscellaneous items.

With a grand total of over $1 million, boating season turns the marina into Port Orchard’s “Million Dollar Baby,” Slaton said.

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