Anacortes is known as being one of the top boating capitals in the Pacific Northwest.
With over 2,500 slips in six marinas, a vibrant maritime community, and being the homeport to the Washington State Ferry system, it makes it onto many a cruising destination bucket list. Every May, the town celebrates the upcoming boating season, and there are plenty of ways for boaters and non-boaters to enjoy the boating life and the waterfront.
Opening Day of the Boating Season
May 5, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Besides being fun for all ages, Opening Day celebrates our maritime community,” said Dan Worra, Executive Director of the Port of Anacortes. “Ours is a truly public marina, where you can access all the docks and look at recreational and commercial vessels up close. We’ll say a few words, honor some long-time marina tenants and cut the ribbon on our newest activity float. There will be great music, free chowder from the Anthony’s Cabana, face painting for the kids, and a boat parade. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!”
Held at Cap Sante Marina, the festivities also includes words of welcome and ceremony from the Town Crier, the Port of Anacortes, the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, the Anacortes Yacht Club, a blessing of the fleet, live entertainment, a bouncy house, and Clover the Balloon Fairy.
The 5th Annual Pull and Be Damned Small Boat Messabout
May 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It doesn’t matter if you have a boat or not, the Pull and Be Damned Small Boat Messabout, is all about sharing the love of small watercraft and getting out in the Salish Sea. Festivities includes a marine swamp meet, demonstrations for boating, kayaking and rowing, family-friendly fun and games, and a potluck in the Seafarers’ Park Building where visitors can share their favorite dish. If that happens to be your famous grilled chicken or ribs, the BBQ grills are available.
“Whether you have a boat or not, come have some fun and get out on the water,” said Andy Stewart, Board Member of the Anacortes Small Boat Center. “You’ll get to see all kinds of small watercraft, meet the people who are part of the waterfront community, and there are opportunities for getting out in the bay, which is a fun way to experience our island.”
This annual event is sponsored by the Anacortes Small Boat Center, Port of Anacortes, OARS, Hole in the Wall Paddling Club, Traditional Small Craft Association, Fisheries Supply and Fiberglass Supply. It is an occasion for people to bring out their small watercraft boats, and if you don’t have one, that’s okay too. You can join a demo and see what it is like.
Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show
May 17-20, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With nearly 300 boats on display, the Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show is the largest show ever to be held in Anacortes. Located at Cap Sante Marina, visitors can wander the docks and check out the new and brokerage boats in the water, the shore-side trailerable boats, and peruse boating accessories, electronics, and more in the tent.
“The Anacortes waterfront and community are a perfect venue to showcase recreational boating and fishing outside of the hustle and bustle of Seattle,” said George Harris, President, NMTA. “Anacortes is one of my favorite places in the Northwest and where I keep my own boat. It’s only 90 minutes from Seattle and looks, smells and feels like boating from the minute you arrive. The NMTA Board, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, Port of Anacortes, local businesses and I are all excited about creating the next great boat show in the Northwest for our members.”
The four-day event includes a daily happy hour at the activity floats from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with wine, beer and entertainment. For the kids, there is an AquaZone with a bounce house and paddler boats. Free parking is plentiful, and a free bus will shuttle visitors between Cap Sante Marina and participating boatyards.
Tickets are $10 for one day, or $15 for an unlimited pass. Youth 17 and under are free. On Thursday and Friday, yacht club members get in free.
Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston
Wrap up your weekend trip to Anacortes by visiting the Maritime Heritage Center and W.T. Preston. The museum is dedicated to the town’s maritime history and on display are photos of the commercial fishing industry in Anacortes. On the tour at the W.T. Preston, visitors can explore the steam-powered snagboat and discover how they worked to maintain and clear the rivers, removing up to 3500 cubic yards of debris each year.
In April and May, the museum is open on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. There is a nominal fee to tour the W.T. Preston.
by Lara Dunning
Small Boat Messabout photo credit to Andy Stewart