Pumpouts, Fuel Docks & Marinas
An exceptional network of marinas services NW cruisers. Most marinas offer both permanent and overnight moorage, but some associated with state parks or resorts cater only to short-term visitors.
Most towns and cities fronting Puget Sound and adjacent waters operate a municipal marina, and these facilities are typically within a very short walk of restaurants, galleries, museums, and shopping opportunities ashore. Overnight moorage rates will vary from less than 50-cents to more than $1/foot, with a small surcharge if connecting to shorepower. Even so, visiting a town or city by boat will cost much less than lodging in any acceptable hotel.
Resort marinas usually offer an upscale experience. At some marinas, uniformed dock hands greet arriving vessels to assist with lines and landings. Moorage rates may run slightly higher at a resort marina, but boaters normally have access to most or all of he resort amenities. For most boaters a slip at the dock will be substantially less expensive than renting a room.
Space at state park docks is on a first-come basis, but most municipal and resort marinas will accept reservations. Contact a marina office by cell phone, or via VHF radio. Marinas frequently monitor VHF channel 66A.
As we cruise the NW, enjoying marina accommodations at parks, towns, and resorts, we will regularly need to address one of the less glamorous realities of boating. Waste accumulating in a vessel’s holding tank must be disposed before the volume overtakes the capacity. With proper equipment and procedures, the process of evacuating the tank need not be messy, unpleasant, or extremely time consuming. Most marinas and many fuel docks will have pumps available for public use, and at very little or no cost. Private pumpout services will do the job for a small fee, bringing equipment to the boat and eliminating any need to move a vessel to the pumpout dock.
Fuel docks are normally located in or adjacent to a marina. Some of the smaller docks will carry gasoline, but not diesel. Some fuel docks that service a large number of commercial vessels may have diesel available, but not gasoline. Probably the majority of facilities have both types of fuel available, but boaters who know they will want to purchase fuel during a cruise will normally check to be sure it will be available where needed. Some docks carry pre-mixed fuel for two-stroke outboards, but that practice is waning as more four-stroke outboards are available.
Less than half of all fuel docks offer propane, the “natural gas” for marine galleys. Much like a gas station ashore, most fuel docks also have ice, beverages, snacks and convenience groceries available. Bait and fishing tackle are often available at fuel docks, along with lube oil, steering fluid, engine coolant and other basic engine supplies.