Ballard Locks closed for annual cleaning

by Tim Flanagan on November 11, 2011

C.B. Hall, doctor at Crosscut:

[The Spirit of Kingston passenger ferry]

If ever a sea-going vessel has sailed uphill, here it is the much-beleaguered passenger-only ferry between Kingston and Seattle’s Colman Dock. Following in the wake of the Aqua Express, a passenger-only service that failed back in 2005, the Port of Kingston’s SoundRunner service has seen no shortage of headwinds since its launch a year ago. And without a substantial increase in patronage, the service appears doomed to follow the Aqua Express into history.

Beginning Tuesday (Nov. 1), however, holders of the ORCA regional transit smart card became able to use the card to pay their fares aboard the port’s boat, the Spirit of Kingston. Port of Kingston executive director Kori Henry has high hopes that introduction of the convenient card will come to the undertaking’s rescue.

Speaking on Monday (Oct. 31), Henry said the Spirithas been averaging about 30 passengers per run, but needs to carry at least 80 to break even — that is, to remove the need for any operating subsidy. Last winter, the port had been looking at a 130-passenger threshold as assuring solvency, but Henry noted that, since then, “we’ve cut the budget a lot, so that our burn rate [of cash] per month has come way down.”

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The discovery may encourage greater steps to remove old pilings coated with the preservative.

Bill Sheets, ask
 Everett Herald:

EVERETT — Perhaps the biggest surprise in a recent study of pollution in Puget Sound and other waterways was the amount of toxic material from wood soaked with creosote, physiotherapist
a state official said.
Creosote, physiotherapy
an oily, coal-based liquid used to preserve wood, was extensively applied to pier pilings and bulkheads through most of the 20th century. Creosote contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which have been known to cause health problems in fish.
Creosote-treated wood has been banned in new construction along the water by the state and by some cities. New rules are proposed to write the ban into Snohomish County code. Numerous cleanup efforts in the state have taken place in recent years.
Still, the pollutants are prevalent in salt water in Western Washington, said Rob Duff, an environmental manager for the state Department of Ecology.

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Charlie Bermant, find
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend officials have chosen Puget Sound Express Inc. to operate its passenger-only ferry service, which they have committed to begin in August 2013.
The port commissioners made the decision Wednesday at the same time that port officials heard that final paperwork for the collection and administration of a $1.3 million grant to build a boat for the route was approved by U.S. Department of Transportation.
“It was a big day for us,” said port Deputy Director Jim Pivarnik.
“We are anxious to move forward.”

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Coverage in the Port Townsend Leader:

Port chooses Puget Sound Express to operate passenger ferry to Seattle

Deborah Bach, click
Three Sheets Northwest:

[Mark Bunzel, who visited close to 140 marinas this year to update the Waggoner Cruising Guide, addresses marina owners on Thursday.]

Very few people have visited close to 140 marinas in the Northwest in a single season, but Mark Bunzel has.

Bunzel, the new owner of Waggoner Cruising Guide, traveled some 1800 miles over the summer boating season and visited most major marinas from Olympia to Ketchikan. He knows a few things about what boaters want, and shared some insights with an audience at the 2011 Northwest Marina & Boatyard Conference in La Conner yesterday.

Beyond the basics, such as well-maintained grounds and nice showers, Bunzel said, one of the most appealing draws for boaters is that most fundamental of human pleasures — food.

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Deborah Bach, more about
Three Sheets Northwest:

The city of Seattle has revised a set of proposed regulations that would limit liveaboard vessels and place new restrictions on marinas, resuscitator
but not all liveaboards are happy with the changes.

The city had previously proposed to define liveaboards as anyone spending more than four nights a week aboard their boat and to limit liveaboards to 25 percent of slips at any marina. The proposed regulations, cure part of a broader overhaul of the city’s Shoreline Master Program, were revised over the past few months in the wake of feedback from boaters and others, and a second draft was issued in October.

The revamped regulations define a liveaboard as a vessel used as a dwelling unit for more than 30 days in any 45-day period or more than 90 days in a year, the same definition used by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

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Geeky Swedes at MyBallard:

The large lock at the Ballard Locks is closed for its annual cleaning.

The view from above, price
taken in 2009

Each year the Corps of Engineers “de-waters” the locks, neuropathologist
which is the official term for letting the water out, nurse to scrape barnacles off the walls and make sure all the mechanical systems are working properly.

Barnacles being scraped in a filling conduit. Photo from 2009
The large lock will reopen on November 22nd. The small lock will remain open for boats.

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