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East Gig Harbor Association
HomeMonitoring Anchored boats
Monitoring Anchored Boats in Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor Bay is one of the best anchorages for small vessels in Puget Sound. It is protected even in the strongest of winds and has convenient anchoring depths throughout most of the bay. However, this also means that Gig Harbor Bay tends to attract derelict vessels that are often left at anchor for extended periods.

Washington State law allows boats to be anchored in Washington waters (including Gig Harbor Bay) for a maximum of 30 continuous days or 90 days total over a 365-day period within a 5-mile radius. (See: Washington Anchoring Laws)

In the past, Gig Harbor bay was littered with derelict anchored vessels that were both an eyesore, but also presented a serious hazard as they often broke free of their anchors in strong winds.  Jurisdiction for the waters of Gig Harbor bay was also ambiguous as the western (city) half of the bay was within city limits, but the eastern half of the bay was in unincorporated Pierce County. The East Gig Harbor Association worked with Pierce County and the City of Gig Harbor to encourage the city to annex all of Gig Harbor bay up to the mean low tide line. This resolved the jurisdiction issues.

The number of derelict vessels has been substantially reduced since the association began this emphasis. However, there are still several derelict vessels in the bay. Enforcement of the anchoring laws still remains a challenge. The East Gig Harbor Association has voluntarily "patrolled" Gig Harbor bay using a private drone and other small vessels for several years and keeps record of anchored vessels. These records are shared with the Gig Harbor Police Department on a regular basis, and the association encourages Gig Harbor Police Department to enforce the anchoring regulations for the good of everyone who uses Gig Harbor Bay.

We welcome visiting boaters--whether they choose to use our city dock, private marinas, or anchor in the bay--within the limits established by Washington law.