Happy birthday, Ron Roark, principal owner and general manager of Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. In honor of his own personal anniversary at the end of June, we would like to celebrate a year of improvements at the boatyard since he took the helm in January 2015. It’s a year plus a few months, really, since changes started taking shape at the downtown marina in the spring of 2015. And what a year-plus it has been.
Below are the many improvements, changes and additions made at the boatyard with Ron at the wheel. This is just the beginning of Ron’s vision of showcasing Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard as being “at the heart of it all” along the Gig Harbor waterfront.
- June 12, 2015 — Our beautifully renovated apartment overlooking the harbor becomes a luxury vacation rental suite, The Guesthouse @ the Boatyard. The 1,700-square-foot, 2-bedroom and 2-bath apartment was gorgeously renovated in sea foam turquoise and tan with a relaxing marine motif, ready for short-term rentals. The Guesthouse features a luxurious master en suite with King bed, walk-in closet and sliding door to a deck with stunning harbor views. The second bedroom has a Queen bed and walk-in closet; the full dining room, spacious kitchen and comfortable living room all offer sweeping harbor views, with the living room featuring a fireplace and large TV. Just outside the sliding doors are two levels of private decks for lounging and enjoying park and water views. Patio furniture and a large barbecue grill make The Guesthouse a perfect “harbor home away from home.”
- June 24, 2015 — The Northwest Maritime Academy (NWMA) opens at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. The academy’s second floor classroom hosts training in shipboard emergency response procedures, captain’s licensing courses and other maritime trainings. The NWMA also partners with Northwest Response to provide basic and advanced First Aid and CPR/AED training for our local trades, medical professionals, first responders and law enforcement professionals. Many local business groups have also discovered the Maritime Academy classroom as the ideal — and very comfortable — meeting space.
- June 29, 2015 — Gig Harbor’s first dragon boat, purchased by Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard, is christened by Mayor Jill Guernsey. The dragon boat is owned by the Northwest Maritime Academy and is available for valuable team-building experiences when not in use by the Gig Harbor Dragons, a competitive community paddling team that has caught fire in local racing.
“We’re at the heart of it all in downtown.” — Ron Roark
- July 21, 2015 — The marina’s exciting new venue, The Club @ the Boatyard, has its grand opening. The popular Beatniks were playing across the lawn in Skansie Brothers Park and Gig Harbor got its first taste of this versatile, year-round event space on the waterfront. Membership is just $1 a year for this perfect venue for wine tastings, wedding receptions, anniversary, retirement or birthday parties. Numerous bookings and parties have already proven the popularity and great need for this new venue in downtown Gig Harbor. It features two levels of floor space looking out on the park and the harbor dotted with boats beyond; a rich, classic mahogany bar; two cozy gas fireplaces; attractive nautical decor fitting of its unique waterfront setting, and retracting canvas walls for year-round use. The Club offers tables and chairs for 100 guests and has an adjacent full prep kitchen for catering services.
- Summer 2015 — New Wifi and security system goes in at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. Three new Internet access points and eight new security cameras are installed at the marina, offering convenience and peace of mind for moorage tenants. The security cameras allow live-cam viewing of marina activity at the A and B dock gates, the main entrance and driveway, the parking area in front of The Club venue, the office, the main yard and boatyard area under the roof. Boatyard staff check the cameras daily to monitor activity on the grounds.
- September 2015 — Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard offers space to a new business in the harbor, Gig Harbor Gondola. The marina gives John Synco, the singing gondolier, a slip from which to operate his popular gondola harbor cruises. The costumed gondolier takes passengers on relaxing 60- or 90-minute harbor cruises aboard Nelly, an authentic 36-foot Venetian gondola, complete with a cozy blanket for chilly times on the water. Passengers are invited to bring their own beverages to go with the gourmet snack provided by Synco from local stores. In helping to bring about serenaded gondola harbor tours, Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard assists with providing one more way to enjoy “la dolce vita” on the harbor.
“We’re trying to create a cabin class experience here.” — Ron Roark
- February 2016 — JW @ the Boatyard, the long-awaited red food trolley at the boatyard entrance opens. Operated by JW restaurant, it draws a crowd everyday and is one of the most popular improvements at the boatyard so far. Customers enjoy Northwest favorites such as 7 Seas beer-battered cod & chips, Pacific salmon chowder, blackened chicken tacos, apple cider pulled pork sandwiches, salmon or chicken Caesar salads and ice cream bars from Whidbey Island Ice Cream. Umbrella-covered picnic tables and little patch of lawn make JW @ the Boatyard an attractive stop for lunch on the go. A tent is set up over the tables on the lawn in rainy weather for drizzle-free dining.
- March 2016 — Two new beautiful restrooms and showers are completed and ready for moorage tenants at the marina. The tastefully finished men’s and women’s restrooms feature large horizontal slate-gray wall tile, beach pebble floors and tranquil “ocean blue” walls. They are ADA-compliant and each offer two showers, which the old marina restrooms did not have and which are vital for attracting moorage customers. “You can’t be in the business of guest moorage without showers,” Ron Roark said during construction. “We’re trying to create a cabin class experience here,” he adds.
- April/May 2016 — The latest improvement going in, The Bar @ the Boatyard, gets the go-ahead on permitting and construction is under way. The harbor-side watering hole at the boatyard is going in under The Guesthouse and its decks and will feature both a covered area and open-air seating. Its waterfront location will offer wonderful harbor views. The Bar @ the Boatyard will operate on a one-dollar-a-year membership basis similar to that of The Club @ The Boatyard.
- June 2016 — Vibrant color was added to the boatyard this month. Forty bright nautical signal flags and 16 hanging flower baskets add spots of summer color to the boatyard.