Port of Friday Harbor approves purchase of Jensen's Shipyard

The three Port of Friday Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the purchase of Jensen Shipyard at its April 11, 2018 meeting.

"On behalf of Julia and Albert Jensen who started that place in 1910, and Nourdine and Vera Jensen, and Mike and Jeri Ahrenius, we thank the Port for seeing that it is something special in this community," said former Port Commissioner Mike Ahrenius. "We'll miss it. But I know that you guys will take good care of it."


The price is still being negotiated. Port Director Todd Nicholson said the shipyard has been valued at $2.2 million. While there is contamination on the site, cost of environmental cleanup is not a factor in the negotiations according to Port Chair Greg Hertel. "It's not a Superfund site," he said. Most of the contamination is to be expected due to the activities at the shipyard in the past century. Hertel noted insurance policies from the 70s and 80s were written to cover problems into perpetuity. Funding to clean up contamination is expected to be covered through grants and/or insurance.

The commissioners also approved a master plan for the shipyard. It includes: 

PLANNING AREA A: Currently Developed Boatyard site: 

It has a 35 ton travel lift, 1.5 acres of boat storage and work area, three buildings with office or shop spaces.

Marine services include haul out, pressure wash, bottom paint, light mechanical, chandlery and parts, and boat storage.

Office and store building is serviceable and adequate.

Shop buildings are nearing the end of life and not well suited for much of the envisioned marine work.

Travel lift ways will likely require substantial maintenance work by the port in the next ten years.

Existing wash water recycling system and evaporating pond will need to be replaced with a different system in order for the port or an operator under a lease to assume the general industrial storm water permit.

Port intends to incorporate provisions supportive of repairs and maintenance conducted by boat owners and independent marine businesses.


A. Replace wash water treatment system and remove the evaporating pond.

B. Cap and pave boatyard work and storage areas.

C. Construct new buildings designed for indoor boat work.

D. Evaluate existing travel lift ways.

E. Evaluate the cost and benefit of dredging a channel into the existing travel lift ways.

PLANNING AREA B: Undeveloped upland site:

Two acres of field and gravel parking areas.

The 1.5 acres of field contain a derelict building once used for boat building, a small derelict cabin, a small oil storage building, a shallow dug well.

Site has two sets of old boat haul out rails and buried debris. Contaminated soils

Economic development potential: Sufficient undeveloped space to allow for the creation of new work, storage, and/or business and education areas. Public access: that is compatible with maximizing economic development potential of the site appears feasible.


A. Relocate oil storage shed onto developed boatyard area.

B. Demolish old cabin and boat building to reclaim commercial space.

C. Determine best design for grading and retaining walls to maximize usable space in the undeveloped field.

D. Consider the construction of a ramp in the location of the old haul out rails.

E. Evaluate whether adding a seaplane base for locally stationed planes and for maintenance and refueling services would be advantageous at this facility.

F. Consider public access and possible small boat launch area as part of a shoreline bank restoration  in the old dumping areas. 

G. Develop new parking parallel and possibly pull in areas along the north side of Turn Point Road and expand existing parking areas. Explore the possibility of acquiring additional parking areas on land lying south of Turn Point Road. 

PLANNING AREA C: Marina Site: 

There are approximately 50 slips with just over half being wood framed covered moorage. There is substantial deferred maintenance of the marina infrastructure and its electrical systems. Much of the infrastructure is nearing end of life and will need major reconstruction or replacement in the foreseeable future. 

Covered moorage is rare on the San Juan Island and care should be taken to maintain these slips as grandfathered covered moorage. 

Facility condition. The age and condition of the piling, floats, and covered moorage are going to be a financial challenge. 


A detailed master plan of the anticipated marina reconfiguration and rebuild is needed to guide and prioritized marina maintenance, reconstruction, and expansion. 

B. Various wood framing and electrical maintenance, or float replacement projects, guided by the aforementioned master plan will be executed with internal labor. 

C. Pursue various FAA, RCO, CERB, etc. grants to accelerate the execution of the marina master plan work. 

D. Pursue the conversion of the existing Aquatic Land Lease into an expanded Port Management Area. 

E. Initiate an Advance Mitigation account with the Department of Ecology to be used against future marina and boatyard projects. 

F. Ensure the design of any future expansion or addition to marina or seaplane facilities does not endanger viable ingress and egress for critical services and supplies to the barge landing at Shipyard Cove. Look for opportunities to improve the barge turning basin adjacent to the existing Shipyard Cove ramp. 

 A closing date is tentatively set for May 17, 2018.

Last week, the Port selected North Island Boat Company of Anacortes to run the shipyard. A person in the audience at the April 11 meeting, noted that the company is retaining local workers.


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

back to top