Shilshole Bay Marina comes together during time of crisis

Signs posted on the dock warn visitors to take precautionary measures when roaming the area. Photo provided by Leah Raissis.

Just like residents on land, the Live-a-Board community at Shilshole Bay Marina has had to make adjustments during Covid-19. In a marina with 1,430 slips, which are portions of the pier, and 350 Live-a-Boards, this small neighborhood has created a new kind of community that seeks to help one another.

The Marina itself has the Live-a-Board community spread among sections A-V and not in one single area. On a typical sunny day pre-Covid-19, visitors can be seen roaming the docks, glancing at the glittering water with the mountains towering behind and gazing at the boats lining the pier. Since people often want to escape the confinement of their home, the challenge is keeping the public at bay since there is a community of people living there.

The restrooms are shared facilities to the public so residents may come in contact with visitors. While the beauty of the docks draws visitors, caution will be needed as this picturesque hotspot remains a home for those in the Live-a-Board community.

At this time of year, the dock would typically have yacht club parties, American Cruise Lines boat excursions, and be prepared for outdoor movies in August which now are not likely to occur. The marina is not seeing the usual activity that would normally occur with great Seattle weather.

A strength at SBM is the small community present. These members can communicate through radio and even have an emergency preparedness group called Shilshole Prepares. This group provides services like groceries and medication errands and even dog walks for those who cannot leave their home.

Over 350 Live-a-Board members reside at Shilshole Bay Marina. Photo provided by Leah Raissis.

When offices were open, residents would hang out at the offices, which they considered the coffee shop, to interact with other members in the community. Now, technology like Zoom is used to coordinate Dock Captain meetings.

Similar to a homeowners association, SBM holds quarterly Dock Captain meetings to go over news and questions the community may have. The first meeting was canceled in light of Covid-19 and everyone tuned in over a radio station instead. Since then, Zoom meetings have been the solution. Although the members have not been able to exchange in any physical interactions as they typically would for quarterly meetings, the transition to Zoom has allowed more people than just Dock Captains to tune in to meetings.

Shilshole Bay Marina Manager, Jo Woods, noticed how helpful Zoom meetings have been for the community.

“Although we are not able to make those physical connections, we were able to bring more people than just the Dock Captains into the meeting,” Woods said. “Usually, there are so many people and we just choose one dock captain from each dock to come, but with Zoom we have the opportunity to sit in and ask questions as well.”

Even though these adjustments are not what SBM anticipated, the dock community has worked together to do their best in these unforeseen times. The people of the Live-a-Boards aim to adjust, connect, and assist one another in whatever manner that looks like.

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