An opportunity for Washington

Published 2:36 pm Monday, May 24, 2021

To the Editor,

World-class ocean-going yachts bring prestige and tourism to their locations wherever they are — first to those who come on them, and second to those who come to see them.

Hundreds of majestic yachts travel up and down the East Coast on the intracoastal waterway all year long. They are looking for more ports of intrigue, which will provide safety, accommodations and good commerce — everything from barbershops to music and historical points of interest.

But no boat captain will take their multi-million dollar boat to a port that could possibly run them aground. If we change this dynamic — and we can – it will change our future. The Original Washington can step put on the world stage. Hard to believe, but true. Nearly all of the hard work has been done. We just need to turn that corner. The potential is here.

Washington was once the second largest port of commerce and boat builder in North Carolina. We have come to far to let this opportunity of more commerce and tourism pass us by. Our merchants are champing at the bit, ready and waiting for this new day. Those inland ports which can accommodate these vessels have more to offer simply because they are the most inland ports. We have the space, now we need to dredge out our about one-and-a-quarter mile of river channel to about 10 or more feet, just east of the train trestle, and then build the proper accommodations for the boats. They need water, sewage, electricity and gas and adequate docking space. We also need professional dock masters and docking crew.

Because of its strategic location, culture, history and commerce, Washington has more to offer yachters than any other port in North Carolina, if we will go for it.

For Washington, the time to implement this idea is now. Merchants — the Mulberry House Brewery, and many others — are counting on are counting on high-dollar locals and tourists to sustain them.

What can the average citizen do to help get our river channel dredged out? We need to persuade our elected officials at every level to address this matter. We need to rattle cages from Raleigh to Washington, D.C. and get this done. For Washington , it’s a new day.

Mike Kilpatrick