Despite having to spend $20,000 on deferred maintenance, the Port of Olympia Harbor Patrol had a productive first year, according to a presentation to the port commission Monday night.
It’s been almost a year since the Port of Olympia threw the Harbor Patrol a lifeline and made it part of the port’s operations. The Harbor Patrol and its volunteer staff were previously a division of the Olympia Police Department.
The city cut it loose due to a lack of stable funding for the operation. The port stepped in and agreed to fund the Harbor Patrol at a rate of $20,000 a year. The city also is contributing $24,000 over a three-year period.
“That call you made to me is one of my favorite calls I have ever received,” said Harbor Patrol Commander Jim Broman to port Commissioner Bill McGregor Monday night. “That somebody was interested in us was greatly appreciated.”
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Broman made the presentation Monday night, along with port Harbor Director Bruce Marshall.
After the port took over, port officials discovered that the Harbor Patrol’s 28-foot boat was in need of repairs, so they spent $20,000 on fixes to the engine and propulsion system, Marshall told the commission. The boat has had no problems since then, he said.
The Harbor Patrol offers a number of services: port security, marine safety, boater education and hazard abatement, or removing debris from Budd Inlet that could potentially damage a boat hull.
They also clean and repair marker buoys, respond to emergency situations and support about 20 community events throughout the year, such as the tugboat races during Harbor Days.
In 2015, the Harbor Patrol removed 16 navigation hazards, and provided 15 tows, 18 vessel assists and 16 ship escorts, according to data shared during the presentation.
When a cargo ship calls on the port, the Harbor Patrol makes sure that other boats get out of the way because the cargo ships are “quiet but fast,” Broman said.
There is also interest in volunteering, he said. They added five recruits in January and 19 more are considering joining, Broman said.