Threat to Sailboat Living Eliminated
By Kristina Krug and Tessa Weber
The City Department of Planning and Development (DPD), has eliminated a controversial proposal to establish a 25 percent cap on live-aboard moorage in the Puget Sound.
Gail Luhn, President of Shilshole Liveaboard Association (SLA) said that her and fellow liveaboards “were very pleased” with the outcome.
Luhn and her colleagues from the SLA negotiated behind closed doors with the city for several months on this issue.
The 25 percent cap for live-aboards was proposed as part of the city’s Shoreline Master Plan to mitigate the levels waste water from residential boats going into Puget Sound.
However, there were many skeptics who felt that the city’s proposal was without warrant.
“I don’t think there is any scientific data. And as far as I know, nobody could show you a direct link between live-aboards [and polluted water]” said Al Hugh, a Seattle live-aboard.
Still, Luhn and others in the live-aboard community praised the replacement of the 25% provision with a set of “Best Management Practices” guiding environmentally friendly boat living. Those practices have long been required at Shilshole Marina in Ballard, but will now be mandatory city-wide.
“We try not to use the bathroom on board very much and have to go regularly to get it pumped out. That’s part of our live-aboard obligation” says Jodine Hatfield, a longtime live-aboard, “Every quarter you have to prove that you have had your facilities pumped out and certified. So we have an agreement with the marina that we have to maintain.”
Thanks to the new compromise, all liveaboards can stay in their floating homes while also working to keep shorelines healthy and clean.