About 100 people attended a catered barbecue and signing ceremony Sunday afternoon for a sister-marina agreement between Swantown Marina & Boatworks in Olympia and the Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Harbor in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
Although sister ports are not uncommon, the sister-marina agreement appears to be the first of its kind in the state, and possibly the country, said Port of Olympia Commissioner Bill McGregor.
“It’s an exciting time to do this,” he said. “We want to strengthen our relationship with the rest of the world, and this is one of the ways to do it.”
Several South Sound politicians attended the event, including Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, state Sen. Karen Fraser and Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum. Other guests included Hyogo’s Gov. Toshizo Ido, and Toshikazu Hayashi, who is president of the Shin Nishinomiya Yacht Club.
“The relationship is extremely important,” Buxbaum said. “It represents the value of both of our cultures to be inclusive and honor diversity.”
Besides promoting a cultural exchange, the agreement stated that both parties will be willing to exchange information on the development of their marina services and operations, and share knowledge and activities on environmental stewardship.
Gov. Ido said he hopes the agreement will encourage yacht owners from both marinas to interact and get to know each other.
Yacht owners are successful people, and the agreement could produce some unexpected benefits, he added.
Hyogo Prefecture and Washington state are celebrating their 50th anniversary as “sister states” this week with numerous events.
“One of the highlights here — I have many — today, I visited the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery” in Woodinville,” Ido said through a translator.
Olympia Yacht Club members Richard and Carole Erwin of Lacey said they enjoyed Sunday’s event and are looking forward to watching the two marinas develop an international friendship.
“I think it’s just marvelous,” Richard Erwin said. “It’s understanding and cooperation.”
“And exchanging ideas,” Carole Erwin added.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 email@example.com @Lisa_Pemberton