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CWB Answers Your Questions About Upcoming Changes

August 24, 2010

You may have read Betsy Davis’ recent letter about upcoming changes at CWB, or perhaps you read the article about us in The Seattle Times or Three Sheets Northwest. While it’s true that reduced income in this challenging economy means CWB has to make some cutbacks, we want you to know that our core of high-quality programs, events, and livery operations will continue. We know you probably have many questions, and we hope the following with help answer a few of them.

Like many other non-profits, CWB is adjusting to financial realities.  How bad is it?

CWB, along with many other non-profit organizations, has experienced a decrease in funding in the down economy.  While this news is disappointing, it is not grim.  Through the economic crisis, CWB has remained in the black by keeping our eye on trends and adjusting accordingly.  As we step out of our 2010 busy season, CWB has identified a need to scale back for the slow season and has chosen to do so in a way that both allows us to continue to operate CWB’s core programs in the same capacity – offering boat rentals, free rides on Sundays, and pay-what-you-can youth sailing lessons – during the winter months while also allowing us to ramp back up in Summer 2011.

Is CWB still going to rent boats?

Yes, we will continue to offer boat rentals from our collection of historically significant boats. We are cutting back the number of days per week we are open to the public and we will have reduced livery hours, but weekends will see no change. You can still come down on a Saturday to rent a boat or participate in CastOFF!, our free Sunday sail program, just be sure to come down early because it is very popular.

CWB is cancelling two regattas. Why?

Like many non-profits, we offer many services that are not revenue-generating but are entirely mission-based. Unfortunately, due to the amount of resources that are necessary to organize a regatta, we will be unable to offer our Norm Blanchard and Frostbite regattas this coming season. We have, however, scheduled an evening of twilight racing on Aug 27, which offers the chance for sailors to participate in a friendly, low-key sailing event.

CWB is moving out of the Naval Reserve Armory building. Is this a result of the cutbacks?

No. We’ve known about this move for quite some time, as it is in anticipation of The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) moving to Lake Union Park (LUP). The loss of office and classroom space is a small price to pay for the wealth of programs and cultural stewardship that accompanies our new neighbors. We will relocate our offices and classroom space to the CWB Boathouse in the interim, and eventually into our future Education Center in LUP. CWB is collaborating closely with MOHAI and more than 20 other organizations to ensure and expand a full-range of year-round public offerings at Lake Union Park.

How will CWB’s volunteer program shift due to these changes?

Volunteers are an extremely important part of the culture at CWB, and we will continue to nurture the Volunteer Program. Although CWB has eliminated the Volunteer Coordinator position between now and next spring, it is the first position that we plan to re-hire in 2011. The exact timing of the re-hire will be based on funding. In the meantime, the duties of the former Volunteer Coordinator will be distributed amongst several current staff members, and CWB will have an Interim Volunteer Coordinator. This staff member will be the point-person for day-to-day volunteer needs and will send out volunteer updates, and we still encourage volunteers to apply.

For questions about the volunteer program at CWB, please contact the Interim Volunteer Coordinator, Erin Schiedler, at

Why is CWB planning to expand its facilities while also making cuts?

CWB’s current plans for expansion come at a time of exciting change in South Lake Union (SLU). Lake Union Park will open in late September, the South Lake Union neighborhood is welcoming many new businesses and residents, and the two-way Mercer project will have a dramatic effect on the neighborhood. Because of these myriad changes, CWB must prepare for the influx of visitors predicted in the years to come. This increase in visitors, SLU area residents, and employees will bring an increased demand for our programs and our role as a community gathering place at the water’s edge. We’ve already secured nearly $500,000 to improve our current facilities and make necessary preparations for the opening of Lake Union Park. Don’t miss out on the celebration, which takes place on September 25th, 2010.

Is CWB expanding services to North Lake Union?

You may have heard about our interest in a second location near Gas Works Park at the North end of Lake Union. This came about when we saw an opportunity to serve the Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods with a waterfront community center and a place to offer the National Historic Landmark vessels of the region a place for winter maintenance. The site, currently an out-of-service Metro facility, could help CWB to further utilize the waterways of Seattle by providing us with more moorage in summer months, more workshop locations, and a destination for our boats. This is a long-term project still in the planning phase, and we value your opinion. Learn more at

Is there anything I can do to help?

Of course! You can help in any number of ways. Enroll in one of our many skills workshops or take a sailing lesson. We offer One-on-One lessons in addition to our award-winning SailNOW! program. If you’re already a sailor, rent a boat at our Seattle or Cama Beach locations. If you like what we do and want to receive special member benefits, then join CWB. You can also make a donation of goods, time or money. For more information about our volunteer program, visit our website or attend one of our upcoming volunteer orientations.

Questions? Comments?

Like many of you, we are adjusting to uncertain economic times. We welcome your feedback and questions. And as always, our mission is to be a gathering place where maritime history comes alive through direct experience and our small craft heritage is enjoyed, preserved, and passed along to future generations. We fully intend to fulfill our mission and values for years to come.

One Comment leave one →
  1. circdiva permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:44 pm

    I appreciate the FAQ.

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