Coupeville Port slashes moorage fees

During the dreary winter months, very few boaters moor their vessels at the Coupeville Wharf.

To boost numbers during slow months, commissioners for the Port of Coupeville slashed moorage rates by 50 percent for the next three months.

Before the rate cut, overnight moorage at the Coupeville Wharf depended on the size of the boat. Boats less than 15 feet in length would pay $7 a night while boats greater than 50 feet in length would pay $35 a night.

With the new rates, the overnight fee now ranges from $3.50 to $17.50 a night, depending on boat length. The new rates took effect Wednesday and will last until the end of April.

The rate change is one way to see if more boaters will come to Coupeville during the winter months. Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, said he is confident the move will show the need for a lower rate.

“My gut feeling is this is something we should do every winter,” Patton said in an interview after the meeting.

Commissioners hope the rate reduction will bring more people to shop at the wharf and businesses in downtown Coupeville during the winter.

He said the regular rates were very similar to the ones offered at the Oak Harbor marina. Since Oak Harbor offers electricity and water with its moorage, boaters wouldn’t necessarily want to come to Coupeville, which doesn’t have those amenities.

The winter months are considerably slower than summer. Last July, the port brought in approximately $3,000 in moorage fees. However, in January, the Port has brought in only $130, Patton said.

It looks like the Port will have some interest in the reduced moorage rates. Anacortes-based Mystic Sea Charters will moor its 100-foot boat every night in March and April. In addition the owner of Mystic Sea plans to purchase fuel from the wharf, Patton said during the meeting.

It turns out that mooring in Coupeville temporarily will save the business money in fuel because it’s closer to the whales in Saratoga Passage, Patton said.

The owner of Mystic Sea Charters could not be reached for comment.

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