Harbor Areas in Washington State

WA State Harbor Areas
Article XV  of the Washington State Constitution directs the legislature to appoint a Harbor Line Commission whose duty is to locate and establish harbor lines in the navigable waters of all harbors, estuaries, bays and inlets of Washington in front of cities or within one mile of the city boundary on either side. Harbor areas are to be reserved for landings, wharves, streets, and other conveniences of navigation and commerce. There are currently 27 harbor areas throughout the state.

Harbor Areas In Washington State 

Aberdeen, Anacortes, Bellingham, Blaine, Bremerton, Cosmopolis, Edmonds, Everett, Gig Harbor, Hoquiam, Ilwaco, Kalama, La Conner, Lake Union, Lake Washington, Marysville, Olympia, Port Angeles, Port Orchard, Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Seattle, Shelton, Snohomish, Steilacoom, Tacoma, Vancouver
The Harbor Line Commission also is charged with establishing new harbor lines or relocating existing lines as deemed appropriate. DNR is responsible for responding to requests for relocating harbor lines. This includes reviewing the existing conditions of the harbor lines, preparing harbor line relocation alternatives, conducting State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review of alternatives, and making recommendations to the Harbor Line Commission.

Current Planning Activities

The Washington Department of Natural Resources is considering relocation of the outer harbor line in front of the City of Bellingham, in Whatcom County. The Port of Bellingham (Port) has requested DNR recommend to the Harbor Line Commission moving the existing outer harbor line at two different locations to support the Port’s Marine Terminal activities, and to relocate the existing submersible dry-dock to be moored perpendicular to the main shipyard along the Harris Avenue Shipyard in Fairhaven.
A public hearing has been scheduled for May 9, 2016, at 5:30 pm, at the Port of Bellingham facilities, Harbor Center Building in the Port Commission Chambers.  The address is 1801 Roeder Avenue, Bellingham, Washington, 98225.

Harbor Areas GIS Data

Harbor lines GIS data are available for download from the DNR GIS Data page. The harbor lines are included within the Aquatic Land Ownership Boundaries layer (Esri geodatabase format). Inner, outer, and side harbor lines are indicated by the AQBDRY_TYPE_CD code.
Inner Harbor Lines------------------------- 1
Outer Harbor Lines------------------------ 2
Side Harbor Lines-------------------------- 3
See the Aquatic Land Ownership Boundaries GIS layer metadata for complete descriptions of the codes