Whatcom County Marine Trades Impact Study
In 2016, The Center for Economic & Business Research at Western Washington University (CEBR) identified 2060 direct and indirect maritime sector jobs in Whatcom County, outside of Port of Bellingham operations. A 2013 Port study of its maritime operations identified 3973 direct and indirect jobs. Combining these results indicates a total of just over 6,000 jobs created or supported by the marine trades – fully 7% of the Whatcom County workforce!
Who Are We?
What do 100 maritime businesses in Whatcom County, Washington, have in common?
We revere and protect the source of our livelihood – the Salish Sea and coastal North America.
We live and work on these waters and shores or supply goods or services for those who do.
However, a survey of our nation’s ports shows a disturbing trend –working waterfronts displaced by non-maritime development, shipyards giving way to condominiums and ship chandleries replaced by boutiques. Because our county is not immune to these pressures we have joined together to form a Working Waterfront Coalition to ensure that our harbors continue to support a thriving maritime sector and to protect the cultural and economic benefits for all county citizens.
What is our impact?
Water Reliant Commercial Marine
Rental Rate Policy
As recently as five years ago, Port staff was working under Port Commission direction to raise lease rates for all tenants, including maritime companies, to market rate levels. This policy resulted in several marine trades shops leaving the Port's harbor buildings.
Economic Impact of County
The Working Waterfront Coalition spearheaded an effort to publicize the economic value of Whatcom County's maritime sector. Never before has the positive economic impact of the local maritime sector been made so starkly clear.
Blaine Harbor Industrial Area
The Working Waterfront Coalition is facilitating meetings between Blaine Harbor stakeholders and Port of Bellingham staff to help plan infrastructure improvements.
Port purchase of Marine Trades Property
The Working Waterfront Coalition rallied public opposition to the conversion of city-owned marine trades land to use for a homeless shelter. When the City focused on a Roeder St. site for a much-needed low barrier homeless shelter, the waterfront community objected to the potential loss of irreplaceable shipyard-accessible land and the city's failure to consider more appropriate alternatives.