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Old 05-27-2020, 12:04 AM   #1
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mooring freash water vs salt water

We have two options for moorage
A salt water slip at chinook marina located by tacoma washington. Seems like a nice spot but there does appear to be a good current between tides.
Marina is about 45 minutes from home



The fresh water site is at a yacht club, good security. It is in the duwamish river about about 6 miles up-stream. The negative with this slip is the water level at low tide. We were there today at a minus 1.9 and there was about a foot of water. The silt has been slowly filling the marina. Its really soft. I pushed my tape measure into it about three feet without bending the tape.Obviously one wouldnt want to leave at a minus tide but there is a quest dock that always has good water so if one came in at low tide then we would tie up to the quest dock then move to the slip once water came back up.
This marina is about 10 minutes from the house.
Your thoughts?
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:23 AM   #2
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Personally I would be very reluctant to dock where the boat was essentially in the muck at low tide. You would be unable to even start the engines. Furthermore, unless they plan to dredge, this will continue to worsen. Fresh water is fine, good in fact since the transition from fresh to salt and back tends to kill any marine growth. But I would avoid the risk of getting a slip that may become increasingly difficult to use.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:27 AM   #3
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I winter in fresh and whenever I can cruising. It keeps the bottom clean. Depending on the conditions of the docks, if you're tied securely, you can idle+ the engines and move the mud on a good ebb or river flow.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:39 AM   #4
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The issue is less salt vs fresh than mud vs navigable water. Stirred up mud drawn into the raw water cooling system is not good for impellers etc. The idea of docking at what might be a popular guest dock, esp. at low tide, and moving to your slip when the tide rises sounds inconvenient.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:43 AM   #5
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They are working on a plan to get the marina dredged but i am not aware of when. As a plus they have some really nice covered slips that it sounds like we could get into in a few months. The pier the slip is on has water but i noticed a few docks up the boats were sitting high and dry.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:48 AM   #6
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Don't forget to think about not being able to use reverse cycle air conditioning/heating, if you have it. Also, you would not want to flush the head, pulling the muck into your impeller and holding tanks. Our workaround in these situations is to flush the head with a bucket of fresh water. Quite a nuisance, if you're living aboard very long!
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:55 AM   #7
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Two additional thoughts on a home port in the muck...
1) When returning from long -- and even short -- trips, weather is a variable that can leave you in the position of not being able to get into your home port after you've battled bad weather that has slowed your planned progress.
2) Risk for some unpleasant odors
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Old 05-27-2020, 05:28 AM   #8
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For me, it would be a question of when it will be dredged. Some time in the future, would be a deal breaker. I have "prop washed" a couple of slips so that my boat was always floating, but not being able to come and go for a third of the tide cycle wouldn't work.

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Old 05-27-2020, 07:30 AM   #9
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Uh... that's a big, fat NO.
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:48 AM   #10
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You can NOT let your boat sit in the muck.

I heard a story about a marina in Memphis at the height of low water on the Mississippi. The boats all settled down into the muck, Stayed there for a couple months. When the water started to come up all the boaters were very excited to get out boating. The muck had turned into concrete and wouldn't release the boats. They sat anchored to the bottom as the water rushed into their scuppers.

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Old 05-27-2020, 08:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magna 6882 View Post
The fresh water site is at a yacht club, good security. It is in the duwamish river about about 6 miles up-stream.
Your thoughts?

If you're talking about the Duwamish Yacht Club I would not assume that is fresh water. Fresher than Elliot Bay but not fresh water like Lake Washington. Next visit at low tide look at the pilings for marine growth.



Depth of the slips and muck aside I'd also look at the Duwamish slip vs the Tacoma slip in terms of where I want to cruise, length of the cruises and the speed of the boat. The additional distance for a short cruise to the San Juans may not be acceptable to you. Add in the 45 min drive too. On the other hand, the extra time added to a longer cruise to BC or Ak won't be noticed much at all.


And, I'm not familiar with the Tacoma marina but DYC has secure parking. A plus when heading out overnight and longer.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:04 AM   #12
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The Duamish Yacht Club has a real problem. The Muck is contaminated and they can’t afford the dredging process. You are better off to start in Tacoma and keep searching for moorage that makes more sense. Moorage will come available in Seattle. Have you tried Fisherman’s terminal. It is truly fresh water.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:31 AM   #13
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Elliott Bay Marina is really nice, pay a visit and see if you like it?
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
The Duamish Yacht Club has a real problem. The Muck is contaminated and they can’t afford the dredging process. You are better off to start in Tacoma and keep searching for moorage that makes more sense. Moorage will come available in Seattle. Have you tried Fisherman’s terminal. It is truly fresh water.
The above advice is from a member of the SYC, who contributes good advice here on a regular basis. The local knowledge TR has is so much more valuable than the opinions of many others here, who can't have been there, or done that.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:02 PM   #15
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I moored my boat at the Duwamish YC for 15 years.

I am intimately acquainted with the problems and circumstances of this club.

PM me if you would like details.

I can say that the covered moorage is a nice feature, yet due to the flight paths at SEATAC, even with the covered roof, you will get a covering of jet residue. The good news, it is easily washed off, just don't let it accumulate for more than a month.

To the question of growth, it really is a dream. I would haul on a 3 year cycle. Never had more than a single (not exaggerating) barnacle, usually on the prop.
This is due to the brackish nature of the water. 2 times a day the water is salty, but is usually mostly fresh due to the location in the river - It is several miles upstream of the outlet into Elliot bay and there is always an outflow of river water.

To security, very nice for the most part with a locked parking lot & locking finger piers. There were very few complaints of theft during our time there, but a few items were pilfered from the parking lot or much more rarely things taken by sea.

One possible negative of the DYC is that while it does offer reciprocal moorage at some yacht clubs, there are a number who do not recognize the DYC for reciprocal.


Certainly one of the least expensive moorage options in the Seattle area.

One final note is that it is extremely unlikely that this marina will exist after November of 2022.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:26 PM   #16
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I have no personal experience with the Duwamish situation, but I lived aboard in Ballard for years, just inside the locks, and loved basically never having to clean the bottom. The flip side was the inconvenience of having to lock in and out.

Would the tide/depth situation really be that much more inconvenient? We would often have long waits both leaving and returning home, so much so on busy weekends and holidays that it meant having to adjust our schedule quite a bit. I'm not sure that coordinating with the tide would really be much more of a PITA. Consider that many residents of BC have to time virtually all their outings with tidal currents in many areas.

As for having the boat take to the mud, I wouldn't be concerned. You obviously wouldn't run the engine, and there's no black or gray water discharge permitted at any time, so that wouldn't be any different. For many, many sailors in places like the UK, this is a routine part of their boating experience. Google "mud berth" to learn more.

I'd definitely want to learn more from people who actually moor their boats there before ruling this option out.
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Old 05-27-2020, 05:28 PM   #17
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Don't forget the bridge~

Nobody has mentioned the railroad bridge at Harbor Island. I moored for a while at on the south side of the island and I remember once waiting at least an hour for the bridge tender to open it. Aside from the narrow fairways and the greater expense, Elliot Bay is a much nicer option.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:58 PM   #18
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Mooring in freshwater (or even brackish) has some advantages. Less growth on the hull and longer interval for bottom painting and engine is freshwater flushed adding years to the service interval for the raw water cooling parts, to name a couple. However, I would not want my brand new boat sitting in the mud every second tide change, nor the inconvenience of being restricted as to when I can come and go due to water depth. PM the previous poster who has experience at that yacht club to get more info, but from what I can ascertain from the info here, if it were my new boat, I would go to Tacoma, and if that is not a good location for you, keep looking.
I freshwater flush my engine anyway, and having to bottom paint every second year instead of every third would be a small price to pay for the convenience of coming and going at will and not sitting in the mud.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:51 PM   #19
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Elliott Bay Marina is really nice, pay a visit and see if you like it?
I am on the waiting list for Elliott bay but i am unsure the time table. The boat could be ready in three weeks.I do have a deposit on a slip at chinook but not the best location as its at the very end of the finger piers and next to where they park boats that have been sitting for years. I am going to go to Elliot bay this weekend if they will let us in.

I was also looking at the Seattle yacht club but am a little confused by the application process. I sent them an email.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by magna 6882 View Post
I am on the waiting list for Elliott bay but i am unsure the time table. The boat could be ready in three weeks.I do have a deposit on a slip at chinook but not the best location as its at the very end of the finger piers and next to where they park boats that have been sitting for years. I am going to go to Elliot bay this weekend if they will let us in.

I was also looking at the Seattle yacht club but am a little confused by the application process. I sent them an email.
Rod
Rod, I am sending you a PM
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