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Recreational Boaters Threatened with eviction by Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham

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    Recreational Boaters Threatened with eviction by Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham

    Fallowing an exhaustive search for a 45-50 foot slip last March we were elated to find a spot to sublet in Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham, WA. For the last five months our Bayliner 4087, Sequoia has had a home base from which we've cruised the San Juan Islands and Sequoia took on a new job as a Captained bare boat for a local charter company. We were living the dream until last week when the Squalicum Harbor Master served us with notice that the boat broker we had a contract with had folded up business and was placed in court appointed receivership. After some preliminary investigation we learned that over 40 boaters had received notice to leave the harbor. Available 40-50 foot slips in the Pacific NW have become rare leaving most displaced boaters with no place to relocate. All of us have appealed to Squalicum Harbor and the Port of Bellingham to reconsider it's decision to evict and to examine other options and proposals we've presented. At this time the Port has not offered any alternatives and our future is looking quite grim.

    #2
    So you subcontract with a broker who has leased A bunch of (40) slips? If they have not been paying their lease payments, unless the owner wants to allow you to become the lease holder, I think you may be in a bad position. Your only choice is likely to sue the broker, but good luck with that if he’s been placed in receivership. Any idea what he spent the money on? Probably living large...

    is the Port of Bellingham a municipal government entity? If so, you are in for a very long, slow process to resolve anything. Sorry, but you may be forced to find new quarters. Have you considered petitioning the court for a stay of the eviction on the grounds that you have no place available to go?
    1990 2755 - sold
    2005 275 - sold (now boatless)

    Comment


    • Michael Ramos
      Michael Ramos commented
      Editing a comment
      As I understand it the Port has designated the slips for Charter (which we are part-time) or Brokerage and in our case the sublets (over 40) are mostly for recreational boaters. This arrangement is, per the harbor master, a breach of contract. It is interesting to note that among the other Brokers at Squalicum there are many recreational boaters in their designated commercial slips setting a precedent for Brokers to sublet their slips with renters when they don't have enough boats to sell. Thank you for the suggestion to petition for a stay. That may be our last resort.

    • Rick_Kenyon
      Rick_Kenyon commented
      Editing a comment
      Charter I can understand Because it supports tourism, but why a favorable slip designation in favor of a private boat broker? That seems to be a violation of the public interest unless the Harbor is a private entity. I suggest you find out the legal structure of the Port of Bellingham (my bet, a special purpose government entity), and then ask them why they have a contract with a private business which favors that business to the detriment of the general public? I hope you have engaged an attorney? You need one attorney to represent everyone subleasing a slip.

    #3
    I'm missing something here. If there's 40 boats in 40 slips getting eviction notices then unless there's another 40 boats sitting on a waiting list somewhere, it seems to me your problem is going to resolve itself. I realize there will be some disruption and you have my sympathy but unless the port plans to let those slips sit empty it seems to me this problem will sort itself out shortly.
    R.J.(Bob) Evans
    Buchanan, SK
    Cierra 2755
    Previously 43 Defever, Response LX
    Various runabouts, canoes & kayaks

    Comment


    • Michael Ramos
      Michael Ramos commented
      Editing a comment
      I hope so Bob. It would appear to me that waiting lists have become the norm with some harbors charging around $100. per year with an estimated ten years wait. As the Dire Straights song goes "money for nothing".

    • Rick_Kenyon
      Rick_Kenyon commented
      Editing a comment
      If the port is government owned, they don’t care if the slips sit empty. They want to enforce the contract prohibition which says no subletting to recreational boats. Sounds stupid, but hey, if it’s the government...makes perfect sense. And if they get that enforced, they will likely evict any other violator they can find. The guy who got,put into receivership must be virtually bankrupt, so the harbor doesn’t really care about him, but they are using the “no recreational boat subleases” clause to get rid of his tenants, and they may also be forced to do the same with any other tenants of other brokers who are in the same situation. If they don’t get the sublessors out and wait for the receivership to get completed, it could take them two years or longer to end the subleases with the broker in receivership. The income from those leases has to be counted as income to the court to work with to get that brokers receivership situation worked out, so I don’t think the Port can kick you out until the court ok’s it unless they can fool you into leaving by telling you that you have a sublease violation.

      I think it makes sense to petition the court for your subleases to be included in the receivership, because that could tie the harbor up for a couple years and give you time to find another spot.
      Last edited by Rick_Kenyon; 09-06-2020, 02:30 PM. Reason: Misspelling

    #4
    1st thing: Get a slip at Blaine Marina, ASAP. This puts you at the top of the list for Squalicum Harbor as a current customer of POB. Once you have residence there, you may not even ever have to move the boat from Squalicum, as they re-assign the captured slips from the faltering brokerage.
    2nd thing. POB is a POS public entity. I could go on a rant here, but it would be a local rant, and i'll spare the population of BOC. I have true contempt for the POB.
    Good luck
    Tally and Vicki
    "Wickus" Meridian 341
    MMSI 338014939

    Comment


    • Rick_Kenyon
      Rick_Kenyon commented
      Editing a comment
      Sounds like the POB May be a little less than completely “above board”? Sounds like Tally knows the ropes already. His advice sounds like a good suggestion.

    • Michael Ramos
      Michael Ramos commented
      Editing a comment
      Blaine has a wait list of 8 on their 45 ft and 11 on their 50 ft slips.

    #5
    Michael - There are two 40' (45' 7" LOA) slips for sale, and one 45' slip (51’4” LOA) for rent at Anchor Cove in Anacortes. It's a great private marina. https://anchorcovemarina.com/slips-for-sale-rent-2
    1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
    2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
    Anacortes, WA

    Comment


    • Michael Ramos
      Michael Ramos commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Norton,
      Email sent to both of them. One return indicating a price of $150,000. plus rent, etc. I spent my discretionary funds on a boat with maintenance. Just not in my budget.

    #6
    Thats weird. When I was selling my boat in Squalicum Harbor I had quite a few people ask me if the slip could transfer with it or if I was willing to keep the slip in my name and sublet it to them. Slips there are not transferable and I did not think subleting was allowed. Like Talman said, I had to start in Blaine too. They told me the same thing, 10+ months. Reality was it was 2 months. Pay the fee. Get on the list, You will get the slip sooner than later. There is always Semiahmoo too. Still get on the list if Bellingham is ultimately what you want.
    Esteban
    Huntington Beach, California
    2018 Element 16
    Currently looking for 32xx in South Florida
    Former Bayliners: 3218, 2859, 2252, 1952

    Comment


    • Michael Ramos
      Michael Ramos commented
      Editing a comment
      I think it's a pretty common practice to sublet a slip without harbor notification. No questions asked as long as the checks keep coming in.

    #7
    By the way, which charter/broker went under? The one at my gate was annoying, they always left the gate propped open so anyone could come and go. Someone was sleeping on my boat for a while one winter.
    Esteban
    Huntington Beach, California
    2018 Element 16
    Currently looking for 32xx in South Florida
    Former Bayliners: 3218, 2859, 2252, 1952

    Comment


      #8
      green650, The broker was Bellhaven. I checked in with Blaine and they have a wait list, last week was 8 on 45 ft and 11 on 50 ft slips. It doesn't surprise me that the private slips (open ones) are selling for 150K to 200K plus monthly fees.

      Comment


        #9
        You might also look at Semiahmoo - its a condo marina, but there are usually slips for rent and they aren't that much money to buy.
        1998 Bayliner 2858
        7.4L MPI / Bravo III
        Harbour Village Marina - Kenmore WA

        Comment


        • Michael Ramos
          Michael Ramos commented
          Editing a comment
          njosephson,
          Thanks for the recommendation. Was at Semiahmoo through 2019 and love the marina. My only complaint was that it's fairly isolated. When all of this shakes out I just might be up there again if they have anything open.

        #10
        I've read Point Roberts is a ghost town. There may be room there? It may also still be jammed up with Canadian boats unable to be accessed. But maybe worth a call
        Geoff & Jen
        Shocking Lesson
        1986 3870
        Hino 175's

        Comment


          #11

          Michael Ramos commented
          09-07-2020, 06:48 AM

          Thanks Norton,
          Email sent to both of them. One return indicating a price of $150,000. plus rent, etc. I spent my discretionary funds on a boat with maintenance. Just not in my budget.



          Keep in mind that the slips at Anchor Cove have appreciated 40%-45% in 5-years, so they are a great investment. The association dues run about $200, so that can be an issue.

          There are a couple of alternatives to a cash purchase. Some people refinance an existing property, and others get a mortgage loan on the slip. Bank of the Pacific in Anacortes finances slips.

          1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
          2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
          Anacortes, WA

          Comment


            #12
            Update on slip debacle at the Port of Bellingham,
            On Oct 20 the Port of Bellingham harbor commission met to decide how they should reallocate empty Bellhaven slips and how to respond to boaters who have decided to dig in and stay in their slips while waiting for the commissions decision. A respectable number of boaters spoke to the commissioners and shared a unified perspective that they did not take these slips to nefariously usurp the harbor waiting list but instead to temporarily fill an empty spot while the broker sought out either boats to display for sale or boats to offer for charter. Following boater presentations the Commission realized that they did not have adequate information to make an informed decision. Boaters who remained in Bellhaven slips were given another month while the board considered it's options. Being one of the boaters who has dug in, I am hopeful that the commission will decide to reallocate the slips that are currently empty (more than 30 of the total 40) and compassionately allow the rest of us to have permanent status. Hope springs eternal!

            Comment


              #13
              Hang in there! I assume that the Port is getting revenue from you who have dug in, so you are not squatting, but providing payment even if the Port is holding the checks.
              P/C Pete
              Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
              1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
              Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
              MMSI 367770440

              Comment


              • Michael Ramos
                Michael Ramos commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes, that is correct Pete. Paid with a card so they got the doe.
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