Guide to the Port Ludlow Maritime Community

One of the many reasons people decide to move to Port Ludlow is the maritime community. And, while you don’t have to have a boat to live here, you may soon discover that boating is rather infectious. With one of the best marinas in the Northwest, along with an outstanding community of family and friends who share a passion for the water to go with it, odds are, you’ll find yourself joining the many boat owners in Port Ludlow.

Port Ludlow Yacht Club Commodore Anne Burrell-Smith and her husband Ramsay found themselves in that exact situation – they became first-time boat owners after making the move a few years ago.

Burrell-Smith says that she’s “honored” to keep her boat at the Port Ludlow Marina, and has discovered an incredible sense of community here. Local boaters, most of whom live just minutes from the marina, spend lots of time hanging out on their boats, catching up with the news of the day, enjoying dinner or just relaxing and enjoying the unrivaled views from the water. It’s easy to see how quickly stress melts away, surrounded by the glistening bay, the never-ending sea of green along the shore and the soaring mountains that provide a breathtaking backdrop. Having a boat at this marina means that you can easily enjoy a leisurely cruise along the unspoiled shoreline, watching for bald eagles that are perched in the branches of the trees, along with herons, otters and seals. You can enjoy a sunset trip after a long day at work, or in between all of those activities that are keeping you busy in retirement.

Not only does the scenery rival even that of what you’d find in the San Juan Islands, but Burrell-Smith notes that the staff at Port Ludlow Marina truly help to round out the overall experience, throwing out compliments like “the nicest,” “awesome” and “most helpful.”

Take marine manager Kori Ward, for example. She’s worked at the marina since she was just 18 years old, starting a quarter of a century ago. Her job is to “keep the boaters happy,” – it’s the only job she’s ever had, and it’s one that she obviously does very well.

In an interview with the Seattle Times, she remarked, "I've tried to make this more of a destination, not just a place for people to park their boat.” And that includes helping boaters tie up on a busy day, or even delivering ice when the beer starts to get warm. Ward and the marina staff also ensure that someone is here year-round to help. Unlike many other marinas, boaters will always find a smiling face willing to assist with whatever questions or challenges that might come up.

Burrell-Smith isn’t the only one that appreciates the marina staff. When surveys are sent out to the boaters who moor here, there is one thing that always stands out: that friendly, helpful smile everyone seems to get.

While visiting boaters love to dock at the marina, located inside protected, sunny Port Ludlow Bay, for many boaters, this is their ultimate destination, as they get to enjoy the view from their boats, and their homes, every day of the year.

If you’re thinking about joining them, here’s a closer look at what you should know about Port Ludlow Marina, and the maritime community.

Location

Experienced boaters know that when it comes to location, it just doesn’t get much better than the Port Ludlow Marina. It’s centrally located, providing easy access to a myriad of boating adventures, including destinations in the north like British Columbia’s Gulf Islands; Maple Bay on Vancouver Island, set within a sheltered harbor in the Cowichan Region, and popular destinations in the south, like Anderson Island, the South Puget Sound’s southernmost island, considered one of the area’s best kept secrets.

You’ll be right in the heart of all this region has to offer, with so many potential adventures that await, you could embark on a different one practically every day if you chose to. This is just a short list of the destinations that are within reach:

  • San Juan Islands
  • Deception Pass Marine Park on Whidbey Island
  • Pleasant Harbor and Hood Canal
  • Seattle (Bell Harbor)
  • The Central Sound – Poulsbo and Gig Harbor
  • Olympia and South Sound Destinations
  • Gulf Islands
  • Victoria, B.C. and the famous Butchart Gardens
  • Desolation Sound
  • B.C. Sunshine Coast

Safety

If you’re a boat owner, and even if you aren’t, you’re probably well aware that a boat isn’t a cheap investment. The initial purchase and maintenance can come with a high price tag, so you want to be sure your boat is safe while it’s docked – and, that doesn’t only mean whether or not it’s likely to be vandalized. Port Ludlow has an overall crime rate that’s 63% lower than the national average – you have just a 1 in 96 chance of becoming a victim of any crime, so the more important concern is how well your vessel will be protected from the weather. The good news is that even when those occasionally vicious wind storms hit, due to the sheltered nature of the bay, boats are kept protected. In fact, more than a few have noted that on an especially windy day out in the water, they pull into the Port Ludlow Marina to get away from it, as it tends to stay relatively calm, even when it’s rough out on the open water.

Amenities

Of course, amenities are important too, and some are absolutely essential, like electrical hookups in order to keep those batteries charged; fresh, clean water for cleanup and other purposes, and a fuel dock. Other considerations may be dock boxes, showers and nearby facilities, like restaurants, a place to pick up groceries and on land activities such as golf and hiking.

The Port Ludlow Marina offers all of that and then some. It hosts more than 300 slips that range from 20’ to 50’ along with 200 feet of side ties for larger boats. More docks are expected to be added in the near future, and are estimated to increase the marina’s capacity by about 25%. Slips on two of the docks are reserved for transient guests, while the remainder are behind a locked gate for either monthly or annual moorage.

The marina provides an ample supply of fresh water and hookups, with 30 amp and 50 amp shore power available. Recently remodeled facilities include free showers and bathrooms for boaters to use, and there is a marina store that sells groceries, gifts, beer and wine.

Some of the other amenity highlights include a fuel dock with ValvTechFuel, dock boxes, stationary and portable pump-out services and wireless Internet. The marina also offers single and double kayaks, standup paddle boards and other watercraft rentals that allow you to see the area from a different perspective, as well as providing bicycles for rent. There is also a complimentary shuttle to the golf course.

Marina tenants have the added benefit of getting discounts one some amenities too, like the two areas that can be rented for parties. There is a large tented area that can hold up to two dozen picnic tables with room for live entertainment and dancing, and a covered shelter with picnic tables that has an adjoining area that includes a fire pit. Onsite catering is available too, and there are multiple gathering areas for things like pot lucks and barbecues.

Both tenants and visitors can enjoy access to the award-winning Fireside Restaurant, a championship 18-hole golf course and the 26 miles of scenic hiking trails.

Conditions

Of course, cleanliness and the conditions of a marina are high on the priority list as well. In fact, the most common negative review when it comes to marinas is cleanliness. A marina that is free of trash is important for the overall-experience. Thanks to the dedicated marina staff here, as well as the spectacular environment we live in, these issues are not a problem at the Port Ludlow Marina.

Port Ludlow resident Captain Rick Schurman, had this to say about the marina in his 5-star review posted on activecaptain.com:

“This is one of the best marinas on Puget Sound and maybe the West Coast. It has all types of marine fuels, AC power hookups, marina store that carries snacks, some food and necessity items and some marine supplies. The staff are outstanding, friendly and always willing to help. Open the usual business hours with extended hours to 8 PM in the summer. Other amenities such as golf (free transport available) at the PL Golf Club and swimming/hot tub/exercise room at the Beach Club. Another larger convenience grocery is about 1/4 mile up the road at the Village which has craft shops, personal care, post office and pizza joint. There is an upscale hotel with a restaurant as well as another restaurant and bar within 5 minutes walking distance. If you want peace and quiet with blue herons and bald eagles or go crabbing this is the place.”

Port Ludlow Yacht Club

Boat owners might also want to consider joining the Port Ludlow Yacht Club. It’s a fun way to mingle with others that share your love for their water and enjoy a host of social activities, like happy hour get-togethers at the Port Ludlow Golf Course restaurant, Niblick’s, and dinner events held throughout the year. The Wreck Room serves as the club’s social epicenter, open on Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Port Ludlow Yacht Club also hosts a number of organized cruises, generally between April and October, with an annual holiday “mini-cruise” to Bell Harbor in Seattle in December. The San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands are popular cruises, with trips usually occurring at least once a year to both destinations.

There are also events and classes hosted by the club that revolve around boating, including an annual Training Day which focuses on safety, emerging technology and current issues of the boating community that’s held as a day-long forum that is not only open to Port Ludlow Yacht Club members, but to other yacht clubs and the general public.

Anne Burrell-Smith, whom you were introduced to early, is the Yacht Club Commodore and oversees the club’s functions, conducts the monthly board meetings and coordinates the annual Commodore’s cruise.