In 1981, the first pilings for Semiahmoo Marina punctured the sand at Semiahmoo Spit, and while the Spit’s resort hotel has changed ownership a number of times, the Marina morphed into a world-class marine destination. Sure there were hiccups along the way, a faulty breakwater, among the most notable, but today Semiahmoo Marina is doing things right. Thirty five years later, with perpetual dock renewal as the standard, constant inspection of the breakwater, and immediate repair when severe weather does damage. The Marina has become a shiny diamond on the beach at Semiahmoo Spit.
While only a few boats moored at the marina when it first opened, this summer should find the Marina full of new tenants and owners, and possibly its first waiting list, says Harbormaster, Doug Romano. “We’ve had unusually high interest this year,” says Romano, with five new moorage customers in just the last couple of weeks.”
It’s no wonder when you look beyond the new paint, the shiny stainless steel gateway, protecting the main dock, there’s much more to this marina. Unlike other municipal marinas, where huge public bonds or taxes are required to make major upgrades to infrastructure, Semiahmoo Marina is managed by a Marina Condo Association. That means that private individuals own the 310 moorage slips in the marina. The Marina Condo Association, governed by an all-volunteer board of directors, voted into office by its members, guides the marina policy and advises on business issues.
“We’re lucky to have a forward-thinking board,” says Romano, “it allows us to operate the marina in the black, and it allows us to address issues as an ongoing marina renewal system that allows for maintenance, as well as improvements in infrastructure and amenities.”
While other marinas periodically suffer from sticker-shock of a major renovation, Semiahmoo Marina has instead chosen to manage renewal incrementally. Not only do the docks and breakwater get the attention they need, but so do all of the other components of the marina operation. For moorage owners or customers, the amenities are unparalleled; free Internet service, free showers, free pump out service at your dock, heavily discounted diving services as well as discounts at the marina café, chandlery, gift shop, Semiahmoo Resort, Golf Club and Health Spa, even free coffee.
New improvements this year include dock upgrades, remodeled café, new water system, moorage office remodel, fire suppression system, games in the marina courtyard, and much more. Moorage customers and tenants in need of the occasional boat part from Redden Marine or Fisheries Supply can order it through the Semiahmoo Marina Store, and have delivered with free shipping the very next day. And just recently Northwest Passage Yachts has opened a brokerage office on weekends in the marina center as well.
“While we enjoy a great relationship with our close neighbor Semiahmoo Resort, Semiahmoo Marina is a completely independent marina operated by the Semiahmoo Marina Condo Association.” Says Romano, “Our primary goal is to make Semiahmoo the premier marina in the Pacific Northwest, and we do that by providing every customer service we can.” The last 35 years prove that.