When it gets freezing cold in Edmonds, activity at the Port heats up

By Bob McChesney, Executive Director, Port of Edmonds | Dec 08, 2011

You may have noticed, it has been a bit chilly recently, especially overnight.

According to NOAA, the ocean phenomenon La Niña is likely to present us with a winter that is both colder and wetter than average.

For some, such warnings serve as a reminder of the many things that need to be taken care of: antifreeze, traction tires, wrapped water pipes, candles, flashlights, firewood, even matches. For those with an RV or boat, the list gets even longer.

Now imagine multiplying that list by 600 or a thousand.

That is what we do at the Port of Edmonds.

We have 19 long docks with space for 668 boats. And there are 280 more boats in racks in our dry storage facility.

Our buildings, docks, walkways, equipment and, of course, the vessels in the marina each need different levels of protection and—if called for—emergency response.

It could be a frozen pipe, icy walkways, broken windows, even a sinking boat. We need to be ready for all of them.

Normally during the winter months, when activity is at a minimum, the Port staff devotes its attention to routine annual maintenance—things like waxing the fiberglass electrical pedestals and pressure washing the docks, cleaning gutters and taking care of any number of painting projects.

Occasionally, routine activities need to be put aside to deal with severe weather—cold, wind or snow.

During a recent La Niña winter the wind blew so hard that water sprayed over the docks and froze.

At home, you might deal with an icy sidewalk by putting a little salt on it. We can’t do that here; our concrete floats can be seriously damaged by putting salt on them.

Other deicing chemicals can’t be used either because they will ultimately wash off into the water where they can harm sea life.

About all we can do is sand the worst areas and make sure there are plenty of signs out warning people of slippery conditions.

Most days, however, winter is a great time to visit the Port. The air is often so clear that the Olympics seem to be in our front yard.

The walkers and joggers are here every day, rain or shine, and seem to thrive on it, particularly the views.

And, of course, our several great restaurants offer a warm and cordial respite from the elements.

The Port of Edmonds welcomes you year around. Have a happy holiday season.

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