Exciting things happening at Gig Harbor BoatShop

April 2, 2014 

Think back to 2004. The NASA rover touched down on Mars and signaled Earth. The price of oil hit $40 a barrel. Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of United States, died at 93.

In Gig Harbor, Mayor Gretchen Wilbert entered her 12th year in office. And Eddon Boat Park was acquired through a voter-approved bond.

As part of the acquisition, the historic boat building was identified for restoration so its traditional and culturally significant use could be preserved.

So, have you been to the Gig Harbor BoatShop recently?

A mere 10 years later, there are pretty cool things happening at the non-profit shop on the Gig Harbor waterfront. You must go by for a visit.

The community celebrated a ribbon cutting at Eddon Boat Park, the adjoining property, on Feb. 18. And through a multi-year process, the Gig Harbor BoatShop and Eddon Boat Park have been restored and refreshed. Together, these places are jewels along our waterfront.

The Eddon Boat Yard makeover was extensive and brought the building back to its traditional style. The renovations included restoring the exterior to its original and historic colors: A red roof and, like many historic structures along the waterfront, white paint completed the exterior renovation.

Interior upgrades also took place, and a viewing platform was added on the side of the building to give the public an opportunity to watch shipwrights in action during Gig Harbor BoatShop’s on-site operations.

We are fortunate to have this site, which is eligible to be registered for the historic places in Washington, in our own back yard.

How appropriate would it be to launch a classic wooden boat from this location? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a place where visitors and residents could rent a traditional skiff, rowboat, small sailboat or an electric launch to explore our sheltered and picturesque harbor on a sunny summer day?

A small team of volunteers is focused on making that happen.

Working with the Gig Harbor BoatShop, the group is dedicated to preserving our maritime heritage. Plans are underway to start with a pilot boat-rental project beginning this summer. It will rent several rowboats and one very special vintage electric launch at reasonable hourly rates.

The Livery will operate three days a week, with volunteers and paid staff members, including high school students who are looking for a cool summer job.

Help is needed to make it happen, though. The Livery needs a chase boat, something like a 14- to 17-foot runabout with a 20-plus horsepower outboard, and it needs sponsors to underwrite operating expenses. If you can donate, lend or rent them a chase boat, or if you want to know more about sponsor opportunities, call Tom Brown at 253-225-6815 or email tbrown6@comcast.net.

In addition to the shipwright programming, education and future boat rentals the property will provide, the Gig Harbor BoatShop has a nice retail space with classic Gig Harbor sweatshirts and tees, beautiful artwork and nautical items for sale. There also is a small meeting space that can be used on a case-by-case basis. Call the shop for details at 253-857-9344 or visit www.gigharborboatshop.org.

I encourage you to learn about the various programs offered at the Gig Harbor BoatShop. Next time you are on a walk around the harbor, pop in and say hello.

Karen Scott is the marketing director for the City of Gig Harbor. She can be reached by email at scottk@cityofgigharbor.net.

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