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Shilshole Bay Marina

  Keeping Seattle Afloat | Shilshole Sets Sail  | A Short-lived Attraction | History Docks at Shilshole |  

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Keeping Seattle Afloat

The Port had its eyes on creating recreational boat moorage for the public back in the 1930s. The State of Washington deeded tidelands at Shilshole Bay in 1929 to the City of Seattle, which conveyed the land to the Port in 1931.



But the Great Depression and World War II put marina plans on the back burner for more than 20 years. The first major breakthrough came in 1955 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the breakwater.


In 1956 and 1959, the City of Seattle deeded more land to Port, providing the needed area for a new marina.

Shilshole Bay Marina, 1961

Shilshoe Bay Marina, 1961

Shilshole Sets Sailtop of page

In 1962, Shilshole Bay Marina offered moorage for 1500 boats, and was formally dedicated during Seattle’s World Fair – Century 21.

Shilshole Bay Marina, 1961

Shilshole Bay Marina, 1961

Leif Erikson statue, 1970

In 1962, the Port dedicated the Leif Erikson statue, which has since done a 180 from the original direction it faced.

Shilshole Bay Marina, 1963

Shilshoe Bay Marina, 1963

Undersea Gardens, 1968

Undersea Gardens, 1968

A Short-lived Attractiontop of page

In 1965, Undersea Gardens, with 112 underwater marine wildlife viewing windows, opened at Shilshole Bay Marina. It closed just a few years later and was moved to Oregon.

King Olav visits Shilshole, 1968

King Olaf visits Shilshole, 1968

Wawona, 1973

Wawona, 1973

History Docks at Shilsholetop of page

In 1973, the 165-foot historic schooner Wawona paid a visit to Shilshole and got a huge welcome from the community. Built in 1897, the Wawona originally hauled lumber from the Pacific Northwest to California, but in 1914 she became an Alaskan fishing vessel. When World War II broke out, the Wawona was put to work transporting aircraft supplies for Boeing.

Sailing at Shilshole Bay Marina, 1976

Sailing at Shilshole Bay Marina, 1976

Over the years, docks, berths, and facilities were updated. Shilshole's prime location next to Golden Gardens Park makes this a great asset for Seattle.


Shilshole Bay Marina, 2007. Port of Seattle photo by Don Wilson.

In 2008, an $80 million renovation was completed. The 23 new docks offer wider slips in more sizes, plus generous fairways, Internet, cable, and up to 240 amps of shore power. Shilshole earned a 5-star rating from the King County Envirostars program and is a certified “clean marina” using environmental best practices, recycling, waste disposal and more. The new administration building makes use of natural light to reduce energy costs.


Shilshole Bay Marina, 2009. Port of Seattle photo by Don Wilson.

Other amenities include a public plaza, children’s play founntain, fishing piers, public boat launch, parking and services for boating customers and visitors. In 2010 a new garden area was created adjacent to the plaza that provides an open, grassy area for events and is maintained using 100% organic landscaping.


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