Welcome, says harbormaster
The welcome mat’s out at Semiahmoo Marina, says the new harbormaster, Lou Herrick. “Somehow the idea got started that this is a private marina. Well, it is privately owned, but the public is more than welcome,” said the quiet but gregarious Yankee, a product of a youth spent learning about the sea from the business end of a lobster boat in Maine.
He currently lives with his companion Kathryn on board a CHB 35 trawler named Challenge, and even though there is a small liveaboard community of a dozen or so boats at Semiahmoo, he ties up in Blaine, preferring to separate his professional and private lives at least a little with the 1200-foot-wide channel between the marina he runs and the marina he lives in.
“This thing has so much teak in it,” he said, referring to his boat, “that I’ll do better selling it to a lumber yard when the time comes.” Herrick, 67, lived aboard for 14 years on the ship canal in Ballard before coming north a year ago last month.
Herrick said that he’s serious about the open invitation. “We currently have a 20 percent vacancy rate in our moorage,” he said, ticking off the various lengths available and in what quantities like a vendor at the farmer’s market. “The greatest number are in the 30 to 44 foot range. We have a lot of 44’s, some 40’s and 36’s, and a few 50’s left but they’re quite popular. And overnight or short term, we’ll always find room for everyone.”
added that all the slips have 30 amp electrical, access
to free showers, a laundry room and are wired for phone
service and broadband internet. “We even have
wi-fi wireless internet available for people so equipped,” Herrick
said, “and diesel, gasoline and propane.”
The marina was built by Trillium Corporation as a part of Semiahmoo Resort but is now independent, and operated by a condominium association. Dr. Larry Larson, president of the board, described Herrick as “the ideal harbormaster. He runs it for us, dealing with anything that comes along.”
Larson said that two major projects that may loom in the short term future are finishing a floating breakwater project that was partially constructed some years ago but broke apart in a storm before it was finished, and potential expansion that could double the number of slips to over 600. “At one time it had all been dredged,” Larson said, “but Trillium still owns the development rights to the expansion, so we’ll see.”
Larson and Herrick are also both active in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Blaine Flotilla 19, Larson as immediate past commander and Herrick as a division marine safety officer. Herrick is also a certified flight instructor in multi-engine aircraft.
Herrick earned a degree in electrical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston before entering a career in technical sales. “It was mostly medical equipment, very esoteric,” he said dryly, “ like in the hospital scene in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, where they have ‘the machine that goes ping!’ for emergencies.”
Herrick spent most of his career in the Bay area, living in Walnut Creek and sailing out of a marina in Tiburon.
Herrick has a staff of four, “Jennifer and Laurie in the office and Amanda and Vern to do maintenance,” he said, adding that “our job is to preserve and enhance the physical structure, to get this place to the point of being a first class marina in which everyone’s welcome.”