March 12, 2024

Kilmer Secures $800,000 for the Boat Haven Main Breakwater Replacement

PORT TOWNSEND, WA – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced $800,000 in new federal funding for the Boat Haven Main Breakwater Replacement Project at the Port of Port Townsend. The funding was passed with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Biden.

At the Port of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven Marina, a section of the breakwater was constructed in the 1930s using a sand-filled wood coffer dam with protective stone armoring. The funding is intended to support repair and replacement of a portion of the breakwater – which safeguards the entire Boat Haven Marina, enables access to the Port Townsend Boat Yard, and provides a berth for the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Osprey. The breakwater underwent restoration in 1983 and 2016, but it is now in urgent need of repair.

“Investing in the Boat Haven Main Breakwater Replacement is pivotal not only for safeguarding the marina and supporting the Coast Guard but also for fostering economic vitality and job growth,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This project is an investment in making sure that no matter what zip code you live in, you’ve got a shot and can make a good living.  And having the federal government contribute to this effort means that the costs of this project aren’t solely borne by local taxpayers.  That’s a huge win for our local economy and for taxpayers.”

“Boat Haven Marina and the Port Townsend Boatyard are the heart of Jefferson County’s working waterfront,” said Eron Berg, Executive Director, Port of Port Townsend. “Essential as both a driver of the local economy and cornerstone of our culture, this unique and remarkable place can’t exist without reconstructing a portion of the main breakwater.”

“The Port Townsend Boatyard and Boat Haven are critical to the economic vitality generated by maritime businesses in the Northwest,” said Betsy David, Executive Director, The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. “Its importance is growing exponentially as gentrification rapidly eliminates working waterfront in other communities, causing even more demand for the services offered in Port Townsend. The Port’s physical infrastructure is essential – it creates the environment for enterprise and innovation, fosters a remarkable synergy amongst skilled tradespeople, enables living wage livelihoods, and establishes an international reputation that is a magnet for students, tradespeople, vessel owners, and maritime businesses.”

“The retention of traditional skills and the incorporation of contemporary skills in a working boatyard can have a significant impact on the economic development of rural communities in Jefferson County,” said Cindy Brooks, Executive Director, EDC Team Jefferson. “With a long history of aquaculture, fishing, boatbuilding and repair, the community has a wealth of traditional maritime skills and knowledge that can be leveraged to create economic opportunities… The 2017 Economic Impacts of the Maritime Trades study by Martin and Associates describes 2,243 jobs supported, and $336.7 million total economic value through direct business revenue and re-spending of direct income locally. This is significant.”

“The Marine Trades are more than 20 percent of Jefferson County’s economy and will continue to grow with the support for the breakwater repair,” said Peter Langley, Owner, Port Townsend Foundry. “As Business leaders of the year for 2023 by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Port Townsend Foundry LLC a marine manufacturer, supports the breakwater repair is vital to all of the marine trades of Jefferson County, not just those behind the rocks!” 

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