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 Thanks for reading! Check out this week's poll which will shape a future story. If this issue gives you an idea or question, please hit reply. ↩️

1. Spotted on the Sound: MarkSetBot 

Sailboat racing is a popular pastime on the waters around Seattle and Western Washington. Especially during summer, fleets of sailboats congregate on weeknights and weekends for organized races, often using inflatable buoys temporarily anchored to indicate the race course.

This summer, Seattle’s J/24 fleet made a notable change to its race course with the addition of two robotic race marks from Detroit company MarkSetBots.

“It’s great technology. Why didn’t we do it sooner? Because now it’s proven and it was time to bring them to the Northwest,” said Harry Dursch, a CYC member and longtime J/24 owner. 

Read more.

One of five cargo ships anchored off Blake Island in Washington state on Aug. 31, 2021. (Cara Kuhlman Photo)

2. The shipping situation

While supply chain issues have persisted throughout the pandemic and numerous shutdowns, the current port back log is getting  some serious attention.

At a Port of Seattle community meeting (see story #3), Lindsay Wolpa of the Northwest Seaport Alliance said: "The 24/7 piece is more complicated than the headlines make it seem."

From terminal operators to longshoremen and truckers, there are a lot of moving logistics. According to Wolpa, they will be working through the situation for some time to come.

In the meantime, I enjoyed checking out the AIS Live Map of both Puget Sound and by Long Beach to get some perspective. Vote below for the next story I write about this topic.

🗳️Poll: What do you want the next story I write about the "shipping situation" to be?
Quantify the situation with data
Research the impact specifically in the PNW
Startups working to improve marine cargo logistics
Port projects that will expand WA's cargo capacity
Something else. I'll email you.

3. Takeaways from yesterday's Port of Seattle Maritime Budget Briefing

Last night I tuned into the Port of Seattle's 2022 Maritime and Economic Development Budget Community Briefing. 

Founded in 1911, the Port of Seattle is a public agency that oversees the region's airport and seaport. The maritime division includes its recreational boating, fishing, marine environment and cruise operations. It's a major landholder as well.

My younger self would be shocked by my current interest in budgets but they tell you a lot and shape an organization's short and long term impact. 

I'm still spending time with the proposed budget, but here's what stood out to me at the briefing:
  1. The Port, like many, took a hit in 2020. It’s now riding out the other pandemic-triggered trends from supply chain disruption to workforce uncertainty. The theme of the proposed 2022 budget is “Connecting to recovery” and the idea persisted throughout the presentation. It also signaled future inequity: ”Recovery looks promising but uneven.”
  2. The graph depicting the number of cruise sailings took a literal nose dive in 2020. Another graphic lists “Increased concerns on impact of Cruise” as a threat. However, the Port is counting on revenue provided by the cruise business to fund capital projects, maintain infrastructure and to offset less profitable businesses. The proposed budget projects 2022 sailings, and associated revenue, returning to almost 2019 levels. The budget does not include funds for a 4th cruise berth which was a possibility.
  3. Almost $45 million is budgeted for major maritime capital projects including these which are in the design phase:

From the community survey, I learned that many of you hear about what's happening in the maritime community through publications like The Seattle Times or through state departments like Fish & Wildlife. 

I follow many of these same sources and will link to them when I think they are a good resource to learn more. For example, if the Seattle Times has an excellent explainer there's no need for me to recreate it! I also read a lot so feel free to send recommendations my way.

However, the survey also showed you most often hear news via word-of-mouth through your friends. That's a sure sign of community!

I always value a friend's or colleague's recommendation. If you've enjoyed these first few issues of Future Tides, please consider sharing my project with your friends.

Until next week,
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