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Micro-Harbor Community Dock Site Management

Public dock management is an unfamiliar subject for most waterfront neighborhood communities. In large cities, management of small vessel docks is often shunned by port authorities who have priorities focused on large scale international operations. When they do accommodate small vessels, it is usually under excessive regulation imposed by strict uniform standards that disallow or severely restrict small-scale maritime enterprises.

The Urban Public Waterfront Association fills a need for efficient small vessel dock management to accommodate active maritime communities wanting to provide opportunities for the public engagement.

In an unstable economy, the idea of having self-sustainable resources is imperative for waterfront communities. Due to the destructive nature of water, the cost of maintaining dock infrastructure is typically higher than upland sites. Proper activation and management can reduce or even eliminate the cost burden on local tax payers.

UPWA provides contract "micro-harbor" management services for small public dock sites that allow specific types of commercial use. We work with maritime enterprises who offer programs that attract pubic visitors. Tour boats, water taxis, fishing boats, market boats and adventure rentals are among some of the types of activities we can arrange to help keep a dock site active and maintained.

We provide the services of a mini-port authority to help communities manage dock infrastructure for public access to small vessels.

How it Works

UPWA works with community leaders to develop self-sufficiency plans for community dock sites. Every site has unique attributes and challenges. We help assess the types of programs that would benefit the local community while providing the right incentives for attracting entrepreneurial participation.

Typically, usage fees can be assessed and charged to frequent commercial users while allowing free public access. However, UPWA also works to develop stakeholder support along with fostering community involvement.

Since we are a nonprofit entity rather than a large governmental port authority, we can operate much more efficiently. Using new remote monitoring technology, we can also combine the management needs of multiple dock sites for increased efficiency.

Service Availability

While our Micro-Harbor Dock Management Services are not yet widely available, we are working on developing a pilot program on Seattle's Lake Union and Ship Canal waterways. For more information, Contact UPWA.