Major maritime stories unfolding

As part of building my “beat,” I read a lot. Over the past nine months of this focused reading diet, I’ve identified these bigger picture stories, some already underway and others are just emerging. I believe most will be important to Future Tides, unless you all say otherwise.

  • The use of alternative energy in maritime and the role of marine areas in generating alternative energy — Numerous technologies aim to succeed gas and diesel powered vessels. Not all will succeed and how this transition will achieve widespread adoption, is still unclear. Meanwhile, wave and wind-generated power is in the design, license and build phase, offering hope for energy providers and raising concerns for environmentalists and fishing communities.

  • Regional ferry systems — Kitsap County Transit is now operating three of its Fast Ferry routes. WSDOT is seeking a builder for its new ferries. Des Moines is piloting a passenger ferry for two-months and there is a notable among of federal funding earmarked for regional ferry infrastructure. I’m a self-admitted fan of passenger ferries but I think the specter of the Mosquito Fleet is watching too.

  • The ongoing role of Indigenous tribes on their ancestral waterways and homelands — Many Coast Salish tribes are involved habitat restoration, collaborating new cultural monuments, restoring docks and celebrating their canoe culture. Salmon populations, net pen farming and new aquaculture initiatives are a few of the ways that tribal priorities intersect with wildlife officials, environmental advocates and other residents.

  • Increasing marine traffic – The breadth of users on Washington’s waterways inspired Future Tides. Picture Lake Union on a warm, sunny July day: It’s a patchwork of charter vessels, seaplanes, sailboats of various sizes, jet skis, wake surf boats, hot tub boats, pontoon boat and all kinds of paddle craft. Puget Sound is much larger but it may also be part of this trend: scheduled cruise ship sailings are up 40% from 2019; containerships are being built larger than ever while several container ports are expanding; new ferry routes may continue to be added as part of the region’s larger transportation infrastructure; as well as recreational vessels. The region’s growth, inevitably extends to its waters.

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