Port hoping to attract more boaters in Bremerton

It's all a matter of how it's phrased.

That was the message from the consultant who is marketing the Bremerton Marina.

Bob Wise, of the Marsh Andersen consulting firm, told Port of Bremerton commissioners this week that one of the ways he hopes to fill the Bremerton Marina this summer is by re-wording an offer for a free month's rent.

In the past, the marina has offered one month of moorage free when a boater pays for six months.

Wise said when that offer is made to potential customers, what they hear is $345 a month for a 36-foot boat.

"But if you take that amount and spread it over seven months, they are told the moorage rate is $296 a month," Wise said. "Breaking that $300 mark makes it sound like a much better deal."

Wise said that by offering seven months at the $296 a month rate, the port still makes the same amount of money and the boaters feel they are getting a better deal.

Kathy Garcia, marina manager for the port, said the deal is made on the understanding that payment of fees are never late.

She said moorage fees are due on the first of the month and the port gives a 10-day grace period. After that time late fees are assessed and once a tenant has to pay a late fee, their cut-rate seven month deal is in jeopardy.

Wise and Garcia also told commissioners that they think late fees should be doubled from $20 to $40 a month as an incentive for tenants to pay on time.

If payments are made on time, the seven-month rate can be extended for another seven months, Garcia said.

Commissioners said they liked the idea and gave Garcia the go-ahead to begin selling it to prospective tenants.

Wise also spoke to commissioners about the rates for covered moorage at the Port Orchard Marina. He said compared to other covered moorage in the area, Port Orchard's was below the competition. He suggested that commissioners consider raising the rates, which he said could be raised about 10 percent, and still be under the competitors.

Commissioners asked the port staff to draft a specific proposal and bring it back to them at the next meeting.

Wise told commissioners that the Bremerton Marina is still about 50 percent filled. He said even throughout the winter months, the numbers of boats stayed above 100. He said there are currently 109 boats moored at Bremerton, as compared to 68 last year and 65 in February 2012.

"This is an all-time high for February," Wise said.

He said marketing of the Bremerton Marina will pick up as the summer months approach and that he plans advertising in national and regional publications. He is working on plans for the marina to be a part of National Marina Day on June 14 and has secured Chip Hanauer to boat into Bremerton and present classes for boaters.

He also plans to market a two-for-one overnight stay for that weekend and has Mark Bunzel, editor of the Waggoner Guide, lined up to speak.Wise also gave commissioners a list of eight other weekend events that the marina is gearing up for and said the Rock the Dock music concerts will return in July and August.

"It's going to be a great year," Wise said.

Wise is under contract with the port at a rate of $4,300 a month through May 31.

Earlier in the meeting, officials with Kitsap Transit spoke to commissioners telling them that Kitsap Transit is working on grants to re-construct the Annapolis Pier which is used for foot ferry traffic. The pier needs to be made ADA accessible because it's currently too steep for wheelchair accessibility.

Steffani Lillie, capital development director, said Kitsap Transit will need the port's permission as the current owner of the pier in order to apply for grants to fund the project. The current lease between the port and Kitsap Transit has expired and needs to be renewed, she said, adding that it would be Kitsap Transit's preference to purchase the pier from the port.

Commissioners asked staff to have the pier appraised and once the value is known, commissioners anticipate discussing the port's options in a closed session under real estate transactions.



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