Recreation - Boating and Sailing
Whatcom County is an extremely popular area for recreational water sports, including boating and sailing. It is possible all year round and there are a vast number of marinas, docks, launches, and yacht clubs for boats of all sizes and purposes. The San Juan and Gulf Islands are at your doorstep for scenic day trips, and for longer expeditions, you can explore Desolation Sound and the Princess Louisa Inlet, or head up the Inside Passage to Alaska and Vancouver Island. In addition, the area provides easy access to Seattle, Everett, Gig Harbor, Tacoma and Olympia.
This is the home of nearly 2000 boats as well as the best boat service and expertise, from engines to electronics to sails. The harbor possesses several launching ramps, parking, and dry storage for boats under 6000 lbs. All your marine-related needs can be met here, with seven new and used boat dealers, two sailing schools, several powerboat training facilities, kayak and sailboard rentals, and six boat chartering companies.
Docks and Launches
To captain your own boating expedition, you can set sail from docks and launches in the city of Bellingham at Bloedel Donovan Park, Lake Padden Park, Lake Samish, Lake Whatcom and Boulevard Park.
The largest social club in the area is the Bellingham Yacht Club. Besides being an obvious social hub, the extensive facility includes racing, junior training and cruising, as well as a reciprocal dock. The Club hosts an annual Opening Day and Lighted Boat Parade as well as several regattas throughout the year. Among the smaller organizations, the Corinthian Yacht Club in Bellingham hosts more scaled-down races and social events. The Squalicum Yacht Club is also laid-back, with casual cruises and potlucks; and the Bellingham Wheel and Keel Club is composed entirely of powerboats, offering frequent cruising events.
The Oar Club
This Bellingham organization is entirely composed of sailboats and engine-free enthusiasts. It is dedicated to the beauty of sailing and to preserving and promoting the skills and character of traditional seamanship. It is a casual organization, where sailors can socialize, plan trips, exchange useful information, and service their vessels. Sailors can even find a crew here if they have a boat and a destination in mind.