The popular Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend, Wash., is closed for the next five months as the Port of Port Townsend embarks on a rebuilding of the twin jetties protecting the entrance.
The jetties were built in 1934, when the U.S. government built an immigration and quarantine center which later became a U.S. Coast Guard station. The government also built the white-washed buildings that now make up the historic landscape surrounding a marina that locals and visitors alike consider a gem.
At 88 years old, deterioration of the jetties has threatened the entire marina, its 50 boat slips and the annual 5,000 vessel visits. It has also impacted the surrounding businesses, which employ over 150 county residents. In recent years, winter storms combined with king tides have been able to surge through the marina, including one bout in 2019.
The Port of Port Townsend Commission, determined to save the marina, sought voter approval in 2019 of an Industrial Development District (IDD) levy in part to help fund the rebuild of the jetties. Voters agreed. Those funds have been used to leverage millions in other funds now earmarked as part of the estimated $16.2 million construction cost of replacing both jetties over two years.
Engineering was completed by Mott McDonald. The construction is underway by Orion Marine Contractors of Tacoma, which began the day after the 2022 Wooden Boat Festival ended in mid-September. The marina is now closed, except for vessels coming into the SEA Marine haul out for work.
At a groundbreaking ceremony at the edge of the marina held Sept. 14, Port Executive Director Eron Berg credited strong teamwork and assistance from many government entities to bring the project to fruition. Behind him, a barged crane from Orion had already started its work.
The work on the north jetty is expected to be completed by March 1 2023. That’s when the marina is expected to reopen for the spring and summer boating seasons. In September 2023, also after the Wooden Boat Festival, the south jetty (closest to downtown Port Townsend) is scheduled for rebuild. The marina will again close until the work is done, expected by March 1 2024.
Port Townsend is renown as a Northwest center for boatbuilding expertise and skilled crafts workers. Their work is well known in the fishing fleets, and is key to the survival of the West Coast’s working wooden fleet.
Throughout the jetty work, the Point Hudson RV Park is expected to remain open. RV Park spaces (and marina moorage for those months when the marina is open) can be reserved online through the www.PortofPT.com website - (click on the “Point Hudson” option and follow the prompts). Updates about the status of the Point Hudson jetties and marina will also be posted on the website.
Port Harbormaster Kristian Ferrero has found room for all of Point Hudson’s permanently moored boats inside the larger Boat Haven Marina at the other end of town. This has reduced, but not eliminated, the amount of transient boater space at the Boat Haven. Call the Boat Haven at (360) 385-2355 for information.
The new jetties have been designed to look substantially like the old ones, except with steel pilings replacing the creosoted logs, and harder rocks to form the crib. The new jetties should last at least another 50 years.
Funding for the jetty replacement has come from many sources. A branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Administration, has committed $7 million. Washington State’s capital budget includes $2.5 million. Additional funds are coming from the IDD levy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Jefferson County’s Public Infrastructure Fund.