Covered moorage rates may rise at Oak Harbor Marina

The cost for keeping boats under covered moorage at the Oak Harbor Marina will likely increase in the near future.

Harbormaster Dave Williams has asked for the 10 percent rate hike based on a rate comparison study of competing marinas in the area. He found that the marina’s rates are in line with area marina average for open moorage, but 20 percent lower than the average for covered moorage.

Also, the covered moorage slips are full with a long wait list, so raising prices likely won’t drive away business.

The marina has both open and covered moorage for boats 28 feet to 50 feet in length. The per foot rates are different for the 28-foot, 32-foot, 36-foot, 40-foot and 50-foot covered slips. Under the proposed rate increase, the cost for a 28-foot covered slip, for example, would increase from $5.91 to $6.50 per foot per month.

The proposed rate increase would mean an annual revenue gain of $22,409 for the marina. Although the marina is part of the city government, it has always operated self-sufficiency. The greatest financial burden facing the marina has been the Department of Natural Resources’ tideland lease fees.

The DNR fee was at $7,800 in 1993 and skyrocketed 900 percent to $71,000 this year. That increase has meant the marina has had to increase rates each year since 1993.

Williams and other city officials have worked with state legislators over the years in trying to get the DNR fee decreased, but a bill was vetoed by Gov. Gary Locke. Williams has argued that municipal marinas should get the same rate break that port districts receive.

The council is scheduled to consider the rate increase at the Jan.8 meeting.

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