New Maritime Strategy Charts Forward Course for Anacortes

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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The City of Anacortes and Port of Anacortes, together with EDASC, have been working over the past two years to develop a new comprehensive strategic plan for promoting and expanding a sustainable maritime economy in Anacortes and Skagit County, while preserving the authentic maritime culture of Anacortes.

Anacortes offers one of the most competitive locations in the Pacific Northwest for sustained and future growth of the maritime industry, with an established, diverse range of businesses and unique, superb assets.  At the same time, challenges including difficulties employers face in finding skilled workers; the regulatory environment and burdens on existing businesses; and infrastructure constraints and limitations, are consistently raised as concerns about the future prospects of the industry in Anacortes, and across the state. 

In developing this strategy, the City, Port, and EDASC started from the maritime sector-related policies and goals in the City and Port’s comprehensive plans, then considered challenges and opportunities identified by the business community, Anacortes Marine Trades Committee, and general public as being important to the sustained growth of the sector.  During 2017, the City, Port, and EDASC conducted a comprehensive set of interviews with a broad group of stakeholders representing all aspects of the Anacortes maritime sector, including marine manufacturers, services providers, retail businesses, property owners, educational institutions, state officials, and non-governmental organizations, to assess the characteristics, strengths, challenges, and opportunities facing the maritime sector in Anacortes.  Input was also collected through the meetings and discussions of the Skagit County Maritime Industry Cluster Working Group convened by EDASC, which incorporated a broad cross-section of countywide maritime industry stakeholders. 

 

The strategy takes a broad-based approach to the maritime sector, reflecting the scope of the industry in Anacortes and statewide.  As defined in the recent Washington State Maritime Sector Economic Impact Study, which was commissioned by the Washington Maritime Federation, the sector encompasses a diverse range of businesses and trades, including:  shipbuilding, repair, and maintenance; recreational boating and boat building; maritime logistics and shipping; commercial fishing and seafood products; maritime support services; and passenger water transportation.  Statewide, employment across these six maritime industry categories totaled 69,500 direct jobs in 2015, which paid over $4.7 billion in wages.  Anacortes had an estimated 1,186 jobs across 43 employers in 2016 across these six sectors, which paid over $59 million in wages with an average salary of $49,863, according to data from the Washington State Economic Security Department. 

Based on the input collected , the plan includes four goals, and related action items.  These include:

  • Building public support for and engagement in development of a thriving, sustainable Anacortes maritime sector.
  • Position Anacortes as the Pacific Northwest’s center for the emerging future maritime industry.
  • Establish Anacortes as a state-wide and national center for maritime workforce development, education, and research and development.
  • Establish Anacortes as a regional and international destination for marine-related tourism.

The draft version of this strategy was presented at a joint meeting of the Anacortes City Council and the Port of Anacortes Commission on June 11.  Anacortes City Council members and Port Commissioners offered substantial comments and suggestions on the strategy.  Since that time, the City, Port and EDASC have worked to incorporate this input and additional details provided, in order to finalize the strategy before the end of 2018.  For more information about the strategy, contact John Sternlicht at john@skagit.org.

 

Category: Anacortes, Economic Development, Maritime, Tourism, Workforce Training, Manufacturing