The Pacific Northwest is one of the
most diverse boating playgrounds —
and so are the boats and boaters
calling it home. Here’s a look at what
makes this place special
BY RICH ARMSTRONG
& MARK CORKE
The Pacific Northwest is known for big tides, rocky shores, cold water, deserted destinations, and a rainy season that generally stretches from October through April. So why are there so many passionate recreational boaters in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Canada’s British Columbia? “There’s a sense of independence among the boating public here,”
says George Harris, president of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which
represents the region’s marine businesses. “Our rainy season doesn’t slow us down.
We just go for it. We have boating year-round.”
Cooler temperatures and frequent rains mean that many of the boats have pro-
tected interior spaces. In Florida and the south, it’s all about staying cool while being
outside and enjoying the sun. In the Northwest, you’ll frequently find boats with
heaters to keep the interior of the boat dry and make the shoulder seasons more
tolerable when the mercury drops.
Despite the weather, passionate anglers like Harris are chasing fish regardless of
the calendar. “If you’re really serious about angling for salmon or bottom fish, you
are fishing year-round,” he says. And cruisers don’t let the absence of a blue-sky day
keep them at the dock, either.
It’s not hard to find agreement on the hardiness of Pacific Northwest boaters.
“Owners of our boats are out year-round. The only thing likely to stop them is
ice. These are dedicated, hardcore boaters,” says Bruce Larson, marketing and sales
director for Renaissance Marine Group of Clarkston, Washington, which builds
the modestly sized aluminum pilothouse and fishing boat brands Duckworth,
Weldcraft, and Northwest Boats. “I think what differentiates the Pacific Northwest
boater from boaters in other parts of the country is that he or she is prepared to go
Boats of the Great