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WaterLife: Monthly member newsletter from the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA). For the latest news, visit www.NMTA.net
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July 2017

Seattle Boat Show adds a third location at Bell Harbor Marina

The Seattle Boat Show has announced its expansion to include a third venue at Bell Harbor Marina for the 2018 show (Jan. 26 – Feb. 3). 

The show, produced by the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA), has traditionally displayed boats at CenturyLink Field Event Center and South Lake Union and will now also include new and brokerage boats at Bell Harbor Marina.

“We’re fortunate to have this opportunity to continue to grow the Seattle Boat Show as a premier destination event by expanding to the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront,” said NMTA President George Harris.

“The marina is just minutes north of CenturyLink Field Event Center by bus, or an easy walk that includes the ferry terminal, Seattle Aquarium, Great Wheel and boatloads of tremendous hotels and restaurants.”

With the addition, NMTA now has the opportunity to offer more display space to its approximately 400 members that participate in the show.

“Every year we move hundreds of boats into CenturyLink Field Event Center and we continually sell out of boat display space,” said Seattle Boat Show Director Katie McPhail. “Bell Harbor Marina simply gives NMTA members another display option in close proximity to the stadium. Now with three locations, the big Seattle Boat Show is literally all over the city!”

The marina has protected, state-of-the-art moorage for up to 70 vessels from trailerable boats to superyachts, with 50 amp and 30 amp power on each dock. The expansion to this location also brings more parking options, with 1,500 parking spaces available for show attendees at the parking garage adjacent to the marina. Shuttles will run continuously between all three venues. 

The location also gives NMTA new opportunities for promotions and greater flexibility for food, drink, and premium amenities and features.

Exhibitor applications to display at Bell Harbor Marina and CenturyLink Field Event Center at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show are available now. Applications for the venue at South Lake Union, hosting 100+ vessels, will be available in mid-October. Tickets for the 2018 Seattle Boat Show, the largest boat show on the West Coast, go on sale Dec. 1, 2017.

Barefoot Eco Outdoors
Four Winns
Pacific Yacht Management
Scarab Jet Boats 
Silver Seas Yachts
Washington Business Alliance

Sept. 26 - 28: NMEA Conference

October 19-20: Northwest Marina &     Boatyard Conference 

January 26 - Feb. 3: Seattle Boat Show
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In This Issue: July 2017

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President's Report
July 2017

I’m fired up! And so is our staff, board and Boat Show Committee. We’re fired up because we have a unique opportunity to grow the Seattle Boat Show and make it an even more premier destination event by expanding to the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront. The marina is just minutes north of CenturyLink Field Event Center by bus, or an easy walk that includes the ferry terminal, Seattle Aquarium, Great Wheel, and boatloads of tremendous hotels and restaurants.

Five years ago, I attended a presentation at Seattle Rotary by the CEO of Ivar’s Restaurants that laid out the vision for the Seattle waterfront (Ivar’s has a restaurant on the waterfront and at CenturyLink Field). The grand plan to transform our waterfront by reconnecting it to the city includes removing the viaduct and building a new tunnel for Highway 99 and a new pedestrian-friendly boulevard on Alaskan Way. Railroad Avenue, which ends literally at the 50-yard line of CenturyLink Field, will become a direct pedestrian walkway to the waterfront.

From the SODO Stadium District to Bell Harbor Marina, the Seattle waterfront is going to be spectacular. It occurred to me during this presentation that our Seattle Boat Show would have the opportunity to become the most exciting and talked about event on the waterfront every January. This month, Seattle is buzzing about the grand opening of the world famous Pike Place Market expansion that will ultimately connect directly to the waterfront. I can see how the Seattle media will be just as excited about our expansion in January.

The seawall construction and traffic over the last two years has been a challenge for moving boats in and out of CenturyLink Field Event Center and at times has left me wondering if it was all worth it. In some cases, our largest boats headed for CenturyLink Field Event Center literally made it to the stadium with only inches to spare as they snaked their way through the construction on Alaskan Way and under the viaduct. With Bertha’s successful reappearance at the north end of the Highway 99 tunnel, the seawall construction is now complete, and the waterfront is changing fast.

Bell Harbor Marina is ready to accommodate us with protected, modern moorage for up to 70 vessels from trailerable boats to superyachts. There is 100 amp, 50 amp and 30 amp electrical service on every dock to keep the boats and attendees warm and dry in January. Bell Harbor Marina is operated by the Port of Seattle, a longtime NMTA member and an entity we have worked closely with for many events with trust and confidence. The expansion to this location also brings more parking options, with 1,500 parking spaces available for show attendees at the parking garage adjacent to the marina. Here is a LINKto a brochure with details about Bell Harbor Marina. 

NMTA will continue to partner with the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA) who own and produce the South Lake Union location in January and the September Boats Afloat Show at South Lake Union. Since 2005, we have promoted “one ticket – two locations” and we want to continue to keep the message concise with the addition of our third location, “one ticket – three locations.” NYBA plans to have its January 2018 space applications available in October. Just like South Lake Union, new and brokerage boats can be displayed at Bell Harbor Marina.

Strict stadium policies and not enough space have limited our ability to maximize amenities and features for attendees at CenturyLink Field & Event Center. We are excited for the opportunity to work independently at Bell Harbor Marina, with lots of space and the opportunity to provide more of the premium amenities and features that some boaters expect.

When it comes to the boat show details, NMTA applications for the 2018 Seattle Boat Show were mailed and emailed to all NMTA members on Friday, June 30. The deadline for an on-time application for guaranteed space and the lowest rate is August 31. As usual, it’s critical to apply on time as I predict the indoor space at CenturyLink Field to sell out by August 31. That said, our Boat Show Guidelines do have time-tested policies on how to include as many members as possible with minimal allocations so that even those that miss the on-time deadline can still participate.

New for 2018, we have an online boat show application. In your email and letter from Seattle Boat Show Director Katie McPhail you’ll see that this year you can print your customized application to complete and mail to NMTA or use the new online application. I understand that our application can appear complicated because we keep track of so much unique member information including our five allocations (base, brand, growth, location, acquired) and three types of points (member, show, growth). However, after 18 years using this system, I can confidently say that it is fair and transparent. If you have any questions about Bell Harbor Marina, indoor space allocation or want to double-check a detail about your application, please contact Katie McPhail or myself.

Finally, June was the end of our fiscal year which means it’s time to renew members and elect board members. If you are one of the members that has already renewed – thank you very much! Renewals can be done online or by mail through the end of July. I’d like to welcome three new members to the Board of Trustees who will serve three-year terms: Sterling Hines-Elzinga of Sterling Marine Services, Gregg Reynolds of Global Marine Insurance, and Wendell Stroud of Marine Floats. I’d also like to say farewell and share a heartfelt thank you to two retiring Board members, Giuseppe Alvarado of the Port of Seattle and Dan Wood of Crow’s Nest Yachts. We also had a bylaw revision on the ballot that was approved by members, which will allow members to vote electronically in the future.

It’s the start of a new chapter for the Seattle Boat Show and I’m fired up! Of course, I also can’t wait for a summer of fabulous boating and fishing with family and friends.

See you on the water!


George Harris
NMTA President/CEO

Note: NMTA requires all boats on display indoors to be new (2018 and 2017 hull numbers) for the upcoming show. This has been NMTA policy for at least 40 years and probably more.

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Three elected to fill positions on NMTA Board of Trustees 

SEATTLE – June 20, 2017 – The Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) has announced the election of three open positions on its Board of Trustees. 

New to the board are Sterling Hines-Elzinga of Sterling Marine Services, Gregg Reynolds of Global Marine Insurance, and Wendell Stroud of Marine Floats. 

Hines-Elzinga founded Sterling Marine Services in 2009, a commercial diving company in Seattle offering a suite of diving services as well as marine construction and salvage. Hines-Elzinga intends to focus on workforce development and growing boating. 

Reynolds is a lifelong sailor who has worked in the insurance industry for 32 years and as a commercial marine specialist the last eight years. Reynolds serves as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee at NMTA and also serves on the Tacoma Waterfront Association Board of Directors. He looks forward to promoting the growth of recreational boating and NMTA member businesses. 

“I enjoy working with NMTA members to affect legislation that impacts our industry,” he said. 
Stroud, an NMTA member for over 25 years, is the co-owner and president of Marine Floats. He is a primary consultant on many of the firms’ commercial projects and has worked in marine architecture and engineering for decades. 

“One of my objectives if elected is to broaden our geographic outreach in the Puget Sound area, as well as the Northwest’s lake and river regions,” he said. 

The new Board members began their three-year terms on July 1, 2017. 

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Membership Update
Kate Anderson, NMTA Membership Director
Barefoot Eco Outdoors is an eco-friendly apparel company offering earth friendly products in celebration of the great outdoors. They exhibited in the Northwest Paddling Festival and are excited to bring their ocean-inspired clothing line to the Seattle Boat Show.

Beneteau was founded in 1884 and exhibited in their first boat show in Paris in 1965. They have progressed throughout the years and now offer both power and sailboats. Their local dealer is Signature Yachts and we are happy to welcome them to the NMTA family.

Four Winns has been manufacturing quality runabouts, bowriders, cruiser yachts and tow sport boats since 1962. They are based out of Michigan and their local dealer is Larson Power Boats Northwest in Fife. They look forward to exhibiting in the 2018 Seattle Boat Show.

Kymeta’s new flat panel technology can be recessed into the super structure of super yachts making the antennas invisible, thereby removing the unsightly domes currently required for satellite communications. They are based out of Redmond and are looking forward to being more involved with NMTA and the Northwest Booth at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). 

Pacific Yacht Management out of Seattle is experienced in all areas of yacht operation, maintenance, repair, and construction. They plan on being more involved with the Superyacht Committee and FLIBS.

Scarab Jet Boats is a new line of jet boats and Marine Servicenter is the new dealer in the Pacific Northwest. Come learn more about these boats at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show!

Silver Seas Yachts is the exclusive dealer throughout California, the Pacific Northwest and the entire Southwest for Cruisers, Princess Yachts, and Maritimos. They exhibited in Kirkland Uncorked this year and are looking forward to being more involved in Seattle. 

Washington Business Alliance is a statewide business organization that’s forward-leaning and issue-focused. Their mission is to help solve our state’s most critical issues. By working collaboratively, they catalyze business leadership, bipartisan problem-solving and data-driven strategies to get results for the people of Washington. 

Wellcraft has been in the industry for over sixty years and has broken through to a new audience in recreational boating. They offer the perfect boat for saltwater and freshwater cruising. They plan on exhibiting at the 2018 Seattle Boat Show with their new models.

Thanks to all who came to our Spring Membership BBQ at Cap Sante Marina at the Port of Anacortes. Special thanks to Bellingham Marine Industries for sponsoring! We had over 20 members in attendance, including many of the port commissioners from the Port of Anacortes.

The NMEA Conference is coming to Bellevue this September and NMTA members get special discounted rates! The conference will be held at the Bellevue Hilton from September 26-28, 2017. To take advantage of the special pricing, call or email Cindy Love at the NMEA office at 410-975-9425 or clove@nmea.org.  

The preliminary schedule is already online at www.expo.nmea.org. This is a great conference for training, face-to-face meetings of dealers and manufacturers, networking, and making sure that your marine electronics business is prepared for growth. 

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Legislative Report
Peter Schrappen, NMTA Director of Government Affairs

Scan, Plan, Implement, Evaluate
Those elements pretty much sum up the nuts and bolts to a successful legislative program. Keep in mind that these steps are on-going, complementary and dynamic. 

While that all sounds great, what does it exactly mean? When it comes to “scan”, looking to the future  and across the country, best practices and models  are gleane. For example, as NMTA looks at the current legislation to phase-out copper paint, the ad hoc committee comprised of NMTA members is looking at the California regulation to phase-out high-leach rate paints in 2018. This regulatory approach differs from the legislative path that NMTA pursued in 2011. Now that the first marker in this law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018 (for new boats) in Washington state, this committee is looking at improvements to the law passed in 2011. The group has already met six times and will wrap up their work in time for the NMTA board meeting on July 15. It’s way too soon to predict the outcome, but this important issue is receiving the daylight necessary before the law begins in earnest next year. 

Now that the scanning has occurred, the next step is to “plan”. Your legislative team, staffed by me and led by your board and government affairs committee, will put the pieces in place to ensure success. You can count on that. As NMTA President George Harris likes to say, “If you don’t have a plan, a plan is made for you.” Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to legislative victories. Developing goals, objectives, a strategic plan (all in this chronological order) mean that little is left to chance. 

The third stage is where the implementation occurs. We control our own destiny with a well-executed legislative plan (predicated on an inclusive process). Many messengers on the same message mean that we are all rounding out the conversation and maximizing the beauty of an association. Together we are stronger than alone. If you become what you help build, then this “house” has many trades men and women working from the same blueprint, offering our collective talents to a win in Olympia.

Another favorite expression from George is that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That’s the essence of any good program. Evaluating and applying metrics are essential to progress. The recent change to the Pilotage laws (Woot!) provide evidence that “scanning, planning, implement, and evaluating” translate to real-world success (and that I can be held accountable). Plus, now you know exactly the steps that your lobbyist Cliff Webster and I are taking on your behalf with each and every priority we receive from you.

Looping back to any changes to the copper-bottom paint legislation, stay tuned! In the next four weeks, your government affairs team will have much more direction from the board on next steps. 

Join NMTA at FLIBS 2017

Ever wanted to exhibit at the world’s largest boat show but not sure where to start? Enter Northwest Marine Trade Association. For the sixth year in a row, NMTA is leading a contingent of members to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Key parts of this trip include a 10 by 20 foot booth showcasing member businesses and the scenery of the Northwest, a Northwest-centric magazine and an opening night party. If you would like to participate, contact Peter Schrappen (peter@nmta.net). 

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Dealer Outlook: Gaining customer loyalty is no longer simple
If it was ever easy to cultivate customer loyalty, it’s no longer so, thanks to the Internet. Customers can now routinely research products, features, prices and competitors. Loyalty can be fleeting, customers unreliable and erratic. How, then, can dealers garner customer loyalty?

Andrew Deen, a prolific author and consultant on business startups, recently tackled the subject with several tips. After all, loyal customers are not only important for continuing sales, but they can also recommend that others choose your dealership and brand over any competitor’s. Here, then, are five tips worthy of consideration for dealerships:

Define loyalty: It starts here and really depends on the type of business. If you’re selling laundry detergent, for example, customer loyalty likely means the customer buys a new box every month or so. But marine dealers aren’t selling soap flakes. The customer won’t buy another new boat for several years. Still, they could be loyal service, accessory, storage and marina customers, and they could certainly be urging their friends to come to you. So it’s important to first define what you believe your loyal customer should look like and how you see them responding to your dealership.

Keep customer focus: There’s no disagreement that good customer service is the foundation for building a loyal customer base. It’s the difference between loyalty and one-time customers, emphasizes Deen. Foremost, customers want to be secure in the knowledge that they’ll be taken care of when something goes wrong with the boat, its equipment or some service. The right response can save, even enhance, a dealer/customer relationship.

Depending on the situation, being known for fast responses, replacements, refunds and complementary products or services can give a dealership a huge competitive advantage. Accordingly, the entire dealership team should be empowered to make things right when something goes wrong. Customers so treated will become vocal advocates.

Show gratitude: It takes more than just a thank you email or note, albeit that’s a good start. Building up loyalty takes time. So it calls for a concerted, ongoing effort. It’s one and done for dealers and manufacturers who may offer good promotional deals to first-time buyers, but don’t follow with a focused plan to retain those customers. No one is suggesting you give a discount every time the customers walk through the door. On the other hand, a strategy of personalized offers based on learning things about the customer and family, their past purchasing history, special interests, birthday rewards and other occasional incentives can help keep customers engaged with your dealership.

Always tout your USP: “What distinguishes you from your competitors?” asks Deen. “Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the key to long-term success and customer loyalty.” Far too many businesses today are in a race to the bottom, each trying to offer a lower price than their competitors. Don’t get into the race. To avoid it, you must offer customers something truly special that makes you stand out, justifies a higher price and inspires customer loyalty. Haven’t really ever defined your USP? Take some time now to research what positive things your customers would most often cite about your dealership. Asking will discover what factors are the most important to your most loyal customers. Craft your USP around that.

Never give up quality: If the quality of your service or the boats and products you represent drops, even loyal customers can be driven away. It’s a fact that in deciding to give you their business, they will have selected you with a certain expectation of quality. If they later see that somehow their expectations are no longer being met, their opinion of your dealership will plummet, leaving no way you can re-establish loyalty. So maintaining the quality of your products and services is crucial, even if it means you eventually have to start charging more.

Quality interactions with every customer should be top-of-mind for every member of the dealership team, all the time.

Norm Schultz writes the “Dealer Outlook” blog that appears in Soundings’ www.TradeOnlyToday.com every Tuesday and Thursday. He served as president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association for 34 years during which he directed production for over 130 boat shows in the Great Lakes region. 

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Fish Northwest Update
Carl Burke, Fish Northwest Lobbyist 

Finally, the 2017 legislative session is over.  Not so fast!  It is almost over.  The legislature avoided a government shutdown by reaching an agreement on the state’s operating budget hours before the June 30 deadline.  The only remaining business is the ongoing debate between the two parties over the state’s capitol budget and some non revenue trailer bills. Because the governor vetoed the B&O tax cut after it was agreed upon by both parties, the republicans are unwilling to reach an agreement on capitol expenditures. It is possible there will be no capitol budget this year unless things change in the coming weeks and the governor’s veto is overridden by the legislature. 

How does all this political intrigue affect Fish Northwest, sportfishermen, and our salmon and steelhead resources over the next two years? The governor’s operating budget had proposed a major WDFW general fee increase from the angling community to pay for ongoing budgetary requirements.  The proposal had very little legislative support and drew opposition from various interest groups.  Fish Northwest worked with our coalition partners and key members of the senate and house to gain an $11,000,000 appropriation from the state general fund and renewal of the Columbia River Endorsement Fee which will provide the agency with over $3,000,000 to keep fisheries in central and eastern Washington open for the next two years.  This is not the amount of revenue requested by the agency but it will keep current programs from being cut over the next two years.  

What does all this mean for the agency, industry and anglers? The agency will be forced to request another general fee increase when the current biennium expires on June 30 of 2019. Our state is currently facing significant declines in salmon and steelhead populations.  Hatchery production in our state continues to suffer because of a lack of federal and state dollars.  All of this is happening concurrently when our state’s population is rapidly expanding and more citizens want to be able to participate in these fisheries.  If we cannot reverse this trend and provide an increased and stable source of funds to increase statewide hatchery production and adequately fund WDFW, the long-term consequences are frightening to comprehend. Fish Northwest and our partners will continue to aggressively work the political process to educate legislators about how crucial these resources are to our collective quality of life and the state’s economic wellbeing. 

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Click the picture to register or head to nmta.net/marinaconference.

NMTA Teams up with KING-5 Evening to promote boating

NMTA’S Grow Boating Program serves the NMTA’s core purpose—to increase the number of boaters in the Northwest. Since 2003, NMTA has spent more than $1.5M to promote boating in the Pacific Northwest via grants, event partnerships and sponsorships, giveaways, grassroots efforts and a dedicated annual public relations campaign designed to get media out on the water reporting on the boating lifestyle. There’s no other marine trade association in the country that can boast a program as strong, sustained or multi-faceted as ours.

This summer, Grow Boating has partnered with KING 5 Evening for an exciting, creative summer-long promotion.

NMTA, in partnership with NMTA members Marine Servicenter and Signature Yachts, is providing KING-5 Evening with access to yachts to use as their on-water studio for the summer. The yachts have been branded via hull decals and flags with the with Evening and KING 5 logos.  For the first part of the summer, the Evening on-water studio is a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 479 (pictured above). The second half of the summer will be a Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 catamaran.

Evening declared the second week of July as Evening Afloat week, with stories each night on boating (including stories about the Downtown Sailing Series and Sail Sandpoint) and each night’s show was hosted from an on-water location. The week culminated in a half hour special on Friday, July 14, devoted entirely to boating and ways to the out on the water (view HERE). The show was hosted on Lake Union on the Marine Servicenter Jeanneau. The stories included: crabbing, wakesurfing, learning to sail, boating to restaurants, and choosing the right boat for your lifestyle. You can watch the full show at www.nmta.net/eveningafloat. In addition to the broad exposure from the Evening segments, KING-5 has actively been promoting the boat and stories via all their social media channels, resulting in 100,000s of positive impressions about boating.  

Be sure to give your best boater’s wave when you see the Evening boat out this summer! 

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Do you know someone with superb writing and computer skills that loves boats? If so, we’d love to hear from them! View the job description and application instructions at nmta.net/wearehiring


July 2017
As a lifelong saltwater salmon angler in the Pacific Northwest, I wait for July 1st seemingly all year long. In a perfect world, it would be July 1st every day as the summer salmon season opens from the ocean, Strait of Juan de Fuca and throughout the San Juan Islands for Chinook salmon. Let the party begin!

My first imprinting of king salmon fishing in Washington began 55 years ago when my dad purchased our first salmon fishing boat. It was a 1960 16-foot Uniflite, made in Bellingham and powered with a 35-horse Evinrude. This boat, with its soft white hull and turquoise top, had fins in the back, dude, like a ’57 low-rider Cadillac. It was so ugly, passengers in our boat were issued Alfred E. Neuman masks. Ugly! Got a visual? The hull was as flat as a piece of plywood with a 4-inch keel. All my teeth fell out on our first fishing trip.

My Dad bought the one-year-old boat from a guy who worked at Hanford around one of several nuclear reactors. I was convinced he was radioactive and the boat, I believed, if tested, would set off a geiger counter like a pin ball machine on 220 volts! 

During those early salmon fishing years, my dad towed the boat to Sekiu in early July for fishing vacations every year while growing up. It was a blast even though we caught each other more often than an occasional king salmon. I emphasize the word few.

Today, some 50-plus years later, I am back fishing the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Port Angeles, trolling along Ediz Hook with a longtime fishing buddy from Sequim, Mike Schmidt.

Exactly one year ago from today, we were working our flashers and Coho Killer spoons while trolling west on a morning outgoing tide in 110 feet of water from the Coast Guard station west to the “Winter Hole.” Thinking about it gives me goosebumps as that day three of us brought 15 kings to the boat, taking the six hatchery fish we wanted. The following day, on July 2nd, Mike and I hooked 10 kings and kept the four “keepers” we could, or wanted. It was just like those early days at Sekiu - but different.

July is game day. It’s a time in a Pacific Northwest angler’s playbook where it all goes into motion. Reservations are locked, the boat and equipment is in perfect fishing condition and the trailer is ready to lay down some miles. It’s time to fish.

One of the challenges about July king salmon fishing is where to go. Westport, La Push, Neah Bay, Sekiu, Port Angeles and the San Juans are all open. Similar to picking a selection from the dinner menu at a favorite restaurant, go with what works for you during the first two weeks of the month. My choices in early July are Port Angeles and Freshwater Bay. As we move forward in time toward the second week of July, I’m headed for Neah Bay, as king salmon migrating down the Washington coast and the Columbia River transition through the Neah Bay region.

Since 1977, I have primarily focused on fishing the kelp beds east and south of Cape Flattery, looking for quality king salmon dining on schools of sandlance abundant around the kelp. Mercy! Another takedown! Somebody please stop time!

In mid-July, as in recent years, salmon anglers will witness the kickoff to the central and northern Puget Sound Chinook fisheries (marked hatchery Chinook only). From the north end of Vashon Island north to Pt. Wilson and Port Townsend, I anticipate very good Chinook fishing beginning July 16 as the Chinook salmon guidelines (quotas) have been nearly doubled since last year. The traditional hot spots of Possession Bar, Kingston and especially Mid-Channel Bank at Port Townsend should be on fire. Find the bait and you’ll find the kings. If you’re not fishing any of these areas on July 16 and you can see Puget Sound, please refrain from dialing 911 as you witness water on fire. Baby, I love it when that happens.

This fishery is especially important to stay-cationers who live in the central and northern Puget Sound region. Expect an epidemic from salmon anglers who will be calling in sick, reporting something in their eyes and can’t see going into work!

For the northern Washington fisheries, which include anglers from Mt. Vernon, Anacortes and Bellingham who fish the San Juan Islands, the green flag also drops on July 1. As veteran anglers will tell you, the Islands can be inconsistent from day to day, making it challenging to find where Chinook salmon are holding. Recognized fishing spots like Obstruction Pass, the buoy on the south end of Cypress Island, Boulder Reef and Eagle Bluff in the eastern San Juans are notorious for kicking out summer king salmon.

For this old cat, Port Angeles, Tahsis, B.C. and Neah Bay are on my menu for the first two weeks of July, followed by Mid-Channel Bank off and on during the last two weeks of the month. By the end of the month, I’ll be doing that zombie walk again, hopefully with Chinook salmon on my breath. Somebody pinch me.

See you on the water!


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Financial Report: The power of tax-deferred investing
David B. Fitch, Wells Fargo Advisors

As a result of the loss of corporate pensions and concerns about the long-term viability of Social Security, most Americans anticipate having to be personally responsible for funding their retirement to a degree that would have been unimaginable just a few generations ago. So the sooner you can start saving and investing, the better your chances for a secure retirement.

One way you can help potentially grow your retirement savings faster is to take advantage of tax-deferred investing.  A tax-deferred account can be a valuable device for effective retirement saving.  That’s because there is no tax due on income earned in the account until you begin taking withdrawals, ideally when you reach retirement age.  This provides the potential to accumulate retirement savings faster than in a taxable account. 

Employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), are examples of tax-deferred accounts.  If your employer offers a 401(k) or other workplace plan, consider contributing up to the maximum allowable contribution amount.  If you’re not able to contribute the maximum amount and your employer offers a matching contribution, contribute as least as much as the match. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table. 

If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan or you’re self-employed, consider opening an IRA.  Even if you already participate in a 401(k) or other plan at work, an IRA can help supplement those savings and help you gain access to a potentially wider range of investment options. Keep in mind you are still eligible to contribute to an IRA whether you contribute to an employer-sponsored plan or not. The power of tax-deferral can really make a difference over time. Consider the following hypothetical example: An investor contributes $5,500 to a tax-deferred account that earns an annual fixed rate of return of 6%.  The investor is taxed at a cumulative rate of 25%.   Over the course of 30 years, the account value would have grown to $460,909 vs. $350,909 – an increase of more than $110,000 – in a similar taxable account. 
By following a pattern of consistent savings and taking advantage of the power of tax-deferral, you can take control of your retirement savings. Talk to your Financial Advisor about how tax-deferred investing can fit into your overall retirement savings plan. 

Our firm does not render legal or tax advice.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of David B. Fitch, Associate Vice President in Bellevue, WA at 425-450-2245.

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Rule of thumb: It's all you ever need to win
Peter Schrappen, NMTA Vice President & Director of Government Affairs

I had the opportunity to present to a 300-level political science class this past month. The professor is a fan of this column and wanted me to share with his students how lobbying plays out at the federal government. Never wanting to miss a chance to infuse my thoughts on the rising stars of the political world, I of course first said, “Yes!” and then thought, “Wait, what am I supposed to be an expert on?” 

Fortunately, it turns out that the rules of thumb for lobbying at the state capitol translate to Washington, D.C. Also, it worked out well that I was fresh from the annual American Boating Congress that took place in our nation’s capital. 

Okay, I’m biased – the presentation went well. Today’s topics at the federal level (funding of the Ballard Locks repairs, the evils of ethanol) underscore just how “issues of the day” succeed when simple rules are put into practice.

For example, “democracy is for those who show up” is one of my favorite rules of thumb. You only can bemoan current events for so long. Be proud and get loud gets you so much further in life. The contingent of the delegations with me during the American Boating Congress hammered this point home during our eight Congressional office visits. One of my favorite memories of the 2018 edition involved a Puget Sound lawmaker bragging about the airplanes built in her district and bemoaning that she didn’t have any boat builders from her region that could adorn her walls. “Au contraire” was our response. Actually, she had John Livingston of  Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats there and jumped in, “Actually, we have three facilities in your area and I will have framed pictures mailed to you.” Once again, it provided the truism: Out of sight, out of mind. Whew, close one!

More recently, there was a significant “rule of thumb” that demonstrated just how important it is to “get to the party early than arrive late and disheveled.” This issue impacts all boaters, marinas and yacht clubs. As for some background, stray current and freshwater don’t mix. Taken to the extreme, you can take your life in your own hands if you swim in a marina. Unfortunately, new codes (as part of the National Electrical Code) were moving forward as industry standards with no input from the boating community. This new code would mean that any stray current over 30 milliamps at the pedestal, dock and main facility would cut off power to the entire facility. Keep in mind that a toaster puts out 3 milliamps of stray current, meaning that 10 boats making breakfast at the same time would shut down power to the entire marina. You are reading this correctly.

Thanks to Dwight Jones of Elliott Bay Marina tipping me off to this development, I jumped into high gear. I reached out to the national boating associations and marina association. Let’s just say they weren’t tracking this incredibly important change. I reached out to this national board considering the change to learn that the state was already in the process of moving in this 30-milliamp direction. Uh-oh. Not sure where to turn, I reminded myself to “when there’s a crisis, reach out to friends in high-up places.” This simply means, I phoned supportive lawmakers and set up time with the Recreational Boating Association of Washington to build our coalition around the KISS principle. “These changes are not feasible. 30 milliamps at the boat make sense but not for the entire marine facility.” Fortunately, relationships were already in place, trust had been built and our message and lack of any opposition all combined to put our group in the perfect place to win. And win we did! Washington state’s agency that oversees this adoption agreed with us (even though the opportunity to offer public comment had already ended. I will meet with Washington state’s Department of Labor & Industries later this month (we received a year reprieve to make our case) to keep moving forward on this issue. 

Had I waited just a few weeks on this one, it would have meant that any new construction or repairing of marinas would have to live with this parameter. Fortunately, getting in early trumps getting in late and now the onus is on us to convince others that the Gospel of boating and safety are on our side. Stay tuned. 

In closing, I’d encourage you to not think of the political system as some mythical, mystical model of complex arrangements and relationships. Rather, it’s just the opposite. To mangle a Yogi-Berraism, “if 90 percent of the (lobbying) job is showing up”, the other half means bring your rules of thumb to bare. 

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Rebuilding Lives
A look into the work of Tacoma Community Boat Builders, courtesy of South Sound Magazine 

The Murray Morgan Bridge is a revived city icon in Tacoma. For more than 103 years, it has connected the charming downtown area to the city’s industrial tideflats. But after deteriorating for decades, it was closed in 2007. The state was planning to remove the bridge, but the people of Tacoma wouldn’t give up on it. Instead of watching it crumble, locals rallied to repair it. Today the enormous black steel beams stretch across the Thea Foss Waterway: a banner of something once broken, and now restored. 

Near the bridge, the same thing is happening with people who are working toward rebuilding young lives.

On the industrial side of the Murray Morgan Bridge, the nonprofit Tacoma Community Boat Builders is working with at-risk teenage boys in hopes of rerouting their futures toward calmer waters. 

Once to twice a week, the boys who have run into trouble — with the law or school or family — work one-on-one with volunteer mentors to build something with purpose. Some are working on toolboxes or pieces of furniture. Others are restoring wooden boats that are either in need of repairs, or simply a coat of resin.

“Sometimes for the first time (the boys are) having an experience of success. Sometimes it’s just restoration of something they maybe had once before that fell apart,” said Executive Director Shannon Shea. 

Minors who enter the juvenile court system are vulnerable to committing 
more crimes later and being locked up as adults. However, there is something that’s been proven to divert a young man from following a dangerous path toward prison: community. Studies have shown that hands-on, safe community activities can alter the trajectory of a teenage boy in trouble, members of the nonprofit point out. 

“If you take a pile of material and you make a boat and you get inside the boat and you row or sail away in it, it’s like you can’t have any better realization of your abilities or your impact on the world than that,” said program facilitator Chuck Graydon. 
Paul Birkey, who owns Belina Interiors, a local company that outfits marine interiors, founded the organization in 2012. He was working at a boat-building event at Tacoma’s Maritime Festival when he started thinking about the value boat building could have on kids in need. 

“Building a boat, it’s like all these prob-lems encapsulated in a small thing, the boat. And every move you make, it involves a decision,” he said. Each decision can be the difference between a boat that floats and one that sinks. 

Last summer the boys and their mentors lowered a beat-up dory into the Thea Foss Waterway just outside the shop. When it filled with water, they collectively had to identify its problems, figure out how to fix them, and then execute the repairs. 

“The mindset and the intellectual skillset that goes with attacking a problem like the dory that floods to the gunnels the first time it goes into the water is the same mindset that you need for the kid who won’t go to school. Or the kid who maybe has done something horrendous but doesn’t even know why he did it,” said Shea. 

Part of what makes Tacoma Community Boat Builders a safe place for these boys is that they aren’t asked what brought them to the organization. Their mentors aren’t therapists. No one is pointing a finger or looking down at them. The nonprofit’s organizers believe that what the boys need is a place to practice problem solving. 

“We don’t ask what they did to get here; it’s kind of like when we’re in the boat shop, it’s free ground. When they’re in the boat shop they have the opportunity to prove themselves on their own merits,” said Birkey.

One boy has a scar on his face from a deliberate cigarette burn — one of the many kids who have suffered abuse. But many of their stories are not as obvious. They wear band T-shirts, have lanky limbs, most of them have yet to sprout facial hair. 

They are kids — some with troubled pasts. Many come from broken homes; others are homeless. While many of the mentors are much older than the boys and often in completely different stages of life, they find ways to relate. One mentor is a retired Marine with post-traumatic stress. He works with a boy who is struggling with the syndrome. When one boy came to the shop completely obsessed with rapper Kendrick Lamar, his mentor spent hours with earbuds in, listening to the rap songs and looking for ways to connect with his mentee. 

Because Tacoma Community Boat Builders is still a fairly young organiza-tion, it’s too early to analyze its long-term effects. But so far, the boys keep coming back to build. 

“I come back because I enjoy doing what I do, woodworking. It’s something new for me to learn,” said one boy. Another explained that building gives him something better to do than sitting around the house. Another spends hours on the bus just to get to the shop. 

“We joke around about being reverse fishermen here,” said Shea. “They get caught, we catch them, and they sort of get passed on to us and we want to find a way to release them. 

“But release them whole. You can’t undo the damage they’ve done or the damage that’s been done to them,” she added. 

So what can be done? At the shop, each person can make repairs — one measurement, cut, and carving at a time; boys and their mentors, heads down and focusing on building something together.
This summer the boys will attempt to launch their boats under the shadow of the recently restored Murray Morgan Bridge. 

In that shadow, they will test the waters in a positive way. Their mentors hop these experiences will impact the course of the kids’ futures. Stats show the odds are stacked against them, but just like the bridge and in true Tacoma fashion, fighting for something with history, potential, and promise is always worth it.

To learn more about Tacoma Community Boat Builders, visit tacomaboatbuilders.org

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Health Care Corner: July 2017

Uncertainty surrounding Healthcare Reform is leaving consumers in a tough spot 
As the political landscapes shifts and the ongoing debate around healthcare reform rages on, the uncertainty of the path ahead is going to hit consumer’s right where it hurts, the wallet. Like all insurance products, health insurance is built around the idea of collecting enough in premium dollars to pay for future expenses.

The challenge currently facing insurance carriers is that they are required to set prices for their benefit offerings in 2018, yet have no roadmap of what they will be mandated to cover within those benefit offerings. This lack of clarity is forcing insurance carriers to be conservative, risk averse and generally hedge their bets. For the consumer, that equals higher premiums.   

The small group (employers with less than 50 employees) and individual insurance markets are going to be hit the hardest in 2018 by increased premiums.  As these insurance carriers hedge against the uncertainty being created on a national level by ensuring they collect enough in premiums, the net effect is overpricing and higher than normal increases. Don’t be surprised to see premium increases a bit higher than in years past. 

The success of the NMTA Health Trust is built on aggregating all members together and using the collective size and strength to realize savings that any one member would be unable to obtain on their own. This will prove ever truer over the coming months as the continued uncertainty forces increased costs and premiums. Call our team today to take advantage of this great member benefit. 

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