With deeply-rooted ties to the commercial fishing industry, Blaine Harbor sees commercial fishing vessels as an important part of the waterfront.
Today, a smaller fleet sets out each day to harvest Dungeness crab and salmon during those respective seasons and supplies to four local seafood buyers.
Port Commissioner, Bobby Briscoe, and his wife call Blaine home. Briscoe, a fourth-generation fisherman born and raised in Bellingham has operated commercial fishing vessels for over forty years in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.
“Being a maritime family, a part of the Blaine community and now Port Commissioner gives me a unique perspective. As the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, Blaine harbor and the local commercial fishing fleet are an integral part of this hard working picturesque seaside community.”
Beyond being the longtime home of commercial fishing, Blaine is only minutes from the Canadian border as well as right off Interstate 5 offering the convenience of travel into the Canadian city of Vancouver or even heading south to Seattle.
Across the harbor entrance sits the Semiahmoo Resort, located at the end of a sand spit reaching out into Drayton Harbor. The resort is built on the foundations of the historic Alaska Packers Association fish cannery. The Plover, a seasonal foot ferry operating between Blaine Harbor and Semiahmoo Resort, allows guests and residence alike to go between the resort and town. This historic foot ferry was the same route used to carry the cannery workers from Blaine to their job at the Semiahmoo location.
With strong community ties as well as a place for boats to come in and dock and moorage available, Blaine Harbor exemplifies the mission of the Port of Bellingham through its consistent activities supporting a strong connection and stability to the community.
As an element of community outreach Port of Bellingham Harbor staff partners with the Blaine School District, Puget Sound Restoration, Drayton Harbor Maritime and the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District to provide class field trips as a part of the Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum for Blaine Elementary fifth grade students. Students participate in hands-on experiences and activities promoting environmental stewardship. Everyone enjoys seeing the children at the harbor learning about environment stewardship and the marine ecosystem.
With its proximity to Canada and walking distance to restaurants and the new waterfront playground, the Port of Bellingham operated Blaine Harbor is at the heart of the sea-side town of Blaine.
“Blaine is only 20 minutes north of Bellingham, but you’ll find all of the elements of a summer cruising destination in this quaint, little town,” says Andy Peterson, Blaine Harbormaster. “It’s our best kept secret.”
Peterson, who has worked for the Port of Bellingham for 20 years, grew up a part of his family’s marine hardware and repair business and has been a part of the Whatcom waterfront his entire life. A fifth generation Whatcom County resident, he’s seen the changes to the waterfront that have made the shores of Whatcom County even more desirable over the years.
“I grew up around boats and boatyards,” he fondly recalls. “We explored just about every inch of the shoreline from the Bellingham waterfront to Patos Island.”
Working for the Port of Bellingham, he has worked at the marinas, the shipping terminal, the Alaska Ferry terminal and even the airport before coming back to Blaine Harbor. In 2010, Peterson became the harbormaster at Blaine Harbor and was back to working on the waterfront.
“A leisurely walk from the harbor will get you into downtown Blaine with dining and pubs and loads of small town character,” describes Peterson. “For the boater looking for a quiet place to reconnect, it doesn’t get any better than this. “
The end of April marks the 19th Annual Semiahmoo Bay International Regatta, when race participants from the United States and Canada rendezvous at Blaine Harbor for a two-day sailboat race. Opening Day of Boating and the Fishermen’s Memorial and Blessing of the Fleet is celebrated the first weekend of May.
The busiest day in Blaine is the Fourth of July with a parade, festivities and fireworks over the harbor. Followed by the Drayton Harbor Days the first weekend in August held by the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Bellingham, with assistance from the Drayton Harbor Maritime, Blaine/Birch Bay Parks and Recreation District and the City of Blaine. From raft races and steamboats to the children’s pirate costume contest, this event is a celebrated favorite each year.
Whether you are a boater looking for a new homeport or just looking for a seaside destination to spend a sunny afternoon, Blaine Harbor provides incredible opportunities for both from its locally caught fish and crab to the beautiful sunsets over the harbor. Come see what Blaine Harbor has for you.