South Whidbey Harbor expansion nears finish, port preps for ceremony

Langley resident Marie Lincoln takes a morning walk on the new docks at South Whidbey Harbor. The project is nearly complete and the Port of South Whidbey is planning a grand opening next week.

There are still a few more tasks left on the to-do list, but the expansion at South Whidbey Harbor is now open for public use and port officials are preparing for a grand opening next week.

Though the ceremony is yet to come, the gates opened in late March and the new facility has already gotten some use. At least two yacht clubs have visited, Harbormaster Duncan McPhee said.

“It’s getting all broken in,” McPhee said.

The new floats, designated as docks D and E, add 330 feet of additional space to the marina, and can accommodate larger vessels with a draft of 25 feet or less.

“We don’t have any concerns about depth,” McPhee said.

Staff members at the Port of South Whidbey are quickly checking off the last items on the list to complete before the big opening, which includes replacing two light heads and finishing signs. The grand opening will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 25. Congressman Rick Larsen is expected to attend.

Consultant Dane Anderson was expected to meet with Langley’s Design Review Board for the final approval of signs on April 15, but the meeting was held after The Record went to press Tuesday.

Boaters and local residents who visit the harbor on a daily basis are enjoying walking along the new dock, according to McPhee.

“It’s a great public space, not just for docking boats,” he said. “Crabbers should do much better here than on the wharf.”

With the soft opening and substantial completion finished, former operations manager Ed Field concluded his service for the port district April 4.

“He’s done a pretty good job of wrapping things up and hopefully combining the details of the staff,” Commissioner Curt Gordon said during a meeting on April 8.

Field moved from his position as operations manager to construction manager in February after commissioners began to reorganize the staff structure. Commissioners plan to redefine and restructure staff positions by the end of this year.

Work on the $1.7 million expansion project began in May 2013 to add space for larger boats and yacht clubs.