Appeal to the Boating Community: A Beautiful Harbor is a Shared Responsibility
Terry & Sons Mobile Marine Pumpout just wrapped up its first year of doing business in Gig Harbor, and it’s been a welcome service of convenience for boaters and a cleaner harbor for the entire community.
The end of the first year also marks a good time for review and re-evaluation of the holding tank pumpout service that is free to boaters, says Ron Roark, managing member of Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. Along with a few other marinas in town, the boatyard has been footing half the bill it splits with the City of Gig Harbor to cover a shared 25 percent of local operating costs.
But help is needed from the broader boating community to keep this vital program afloat, says Roark.
“We all live here and we all want a beautiful harbor,” he said. “But that comes with some responsibility. We all have a shared responsibility to keep this program alive.”
Through federal, state and community-level funding, spearheaded locally by Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard, Terry & Sons Mobile Marine Pumpout Services has been offering boat-side holding tank pumpout in Gig Harbor — at no cost to boat owners — since last summer.
It’s a 75/25 arrangement involving two-year funding from a grant administered by the Washington State Department of Parks and Recreation. The grant covers 75 percent of costs for the service on the condition that local communities contribute the remaining 25 percent.
On behalf of private marinas in town, Roark approached the City of Gig Harbor, which agreed to cover half of the 25 percent, or about $15,000. Roark hoped to get other marinas on board to help cover the other 12.5 percent. A few came through, but more support is needed from the harbor’s boating community.
“What a benefit this service is for the harbor and the community,” said Roark. “If we don’t get more help it’s not going to be here.”
Help is Needed from the Boating Community to Keep Pumpout Service Afloat
Terry & Sons performed 560 pumpouts in Gig Harbor as of early June, according to business owner Terry Durfee. With the average pumpout being 22 gallons of blackwater, that’s a whole lot of waste not going into the harbor, resulting in a cleaner, more environmentally healthy Gig Harbor bay.
Between Durfee and his boat operator Joe Fernandez, the Terry & Sons pumpout boat is on the harbor seven days a week. They can usually respond to a boat owner’s call for a pumpout within 45 minutes.
“In under an hour Terry & Sons can get to your pumpout,” says Durfee, who marked 10 years in the business on May 1 of this year. “We’re cruising around the harbor every day and we try to swing by everybody who is on a hook to let them know we’re available.”
Whether at anchor, on a mooring ball, or tied up to a dock or in a slip, boaters can call Terry & Sons for a boat-side pumpout. Just call on VHF 68 or use the phone number on the side of the boat: (206) 437-6764. You can also schedule a pumpout online by going to The Pumpout Guy
“We’re getting more pumpouts as the summer boating season has approached,” said Durfee, who has been leaving fliers, cards and posters at marinas in town to spread the word and request donations for this invaluable service.
“If we can’t raise our matching funds after two years we may have to go away,” said Durfee. “I can’t pay for it out of my own pocket.”
People wishing to make contributions to the harbor’s pumpout service can do so directly on the Terry & Sons website at The Pumpout Guy. Donations may also be brought to the Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard office at 3117 Harborview Drive.
“People are very grateful that we’re out there,” said Durfee. “This is a shared responsibility and responsible people have always been taking care of their pumpouts.”
With everyone’s help, Terry & Sons can continue making it that much easier.