Living in Port Ludlow

Guide to Healthcare near Port Ludlow

Guide to Healthcare near Port Ludlow

There are many things to consider when it comes to making a move to a new town, from taxes and real estate values, to recreational activities, climate and access to good health care. While healthcare facilities are important at any stage in life, they’re particularly relevant if you’re nearing or have reached retirement age, or have children.

With health care costs skyrocketing, choosing a place to live that has quality health care will give you the best bang for your buck as well as ensure you’re in the hands of outstanding care providers. Easy access to good healthcare can exponentially improve your quality of life, and a better quality of life is the reason so many have chosen to make Port Ludlow their home.

This guide can help you understand your options before making a move, as well as once you’ve settled in.

Jefferson County Healthcare

Jefferson Healthcare Foundation and Jefferson Healthcare serves Jefferson County’s population of about 30,000 – the oldest population in the state, which is projected to increase from 26% to an estimated 40% over the next 10 to 20 years. With that, the county has been working on expanding healthcare services throughout the region, particularly those associated with primary care, orthopedics, cardiology and oncology, to meet the growing needs.

Some of that expansion has happened recently, though Port Ludlow residents can expect much more in the near future.

Jefferson Healthcare

Jefferson Healthcare, based in Port Townsend, is the northern Olympic Peninsula’s only ISO 9001 accredited system (ISO 9001 is a set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance developed to help organizations effectively document the quality system elements to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system). The process of becoming ISO-certified, requires hospitals to follow a set of standard rules and develop procedures to help protect and serve our patients. ISO 9001 is different than other quality certification programs, as it requires continuous improvement of all processes. That means that facilities can’t simply meet the standards to earn certification, and then simply forget about it. Even after standards are met, they’re required to keep getting better.

Jefferson Healthcare is also DNV accredited, a health care-specific accreditation that is important as it means the facilities meet certain standards that assure safe healthcare.

There are other critical reasons to look for DNV accreditation, including:

In order to bill patients who have Medicare and/or Medicaid, the hospital must be an approved provider with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). To be approved, the facility must have accreditation from one of the only two approved CMS approved organizations: DNV, or The Joint Commission and the American Osteopathic Association. CMS has strict criteria to be met and the oversight of the deemed accreditation organizations, providing further assurance to patients as well as ensuring medical claims are paid.

Accreditation also provides patients the confidence that the hospital you’re seeking care from has been approved to handle your particular health care needs, in accordance to specific requirements.

Jefferson Healthcare is a public hospital which provides services to east Jefferson County residents. It has nine clinics throughout Jefferson County, including one in Port Ludlow, as well as a nationally recognized award-winning Home Health service provider, and a hospice office. There is a full service orthopedic clinic, and an oncology clinic that administers infusion services of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other treatments. The Medical Short Stay offers wound care, sleep medicine, Coumadin and anti-coagulation services, and there are a number of Wellness programs available too, which include community education and a wide range of support groups.

A brand new 52,900-square-foot Emergency and Specialty Services building (ESSB) at the hospital in Port Townsend just opened last fall.

In an October 2016 press release, CEO Mike Glenn noted: “We’re pretty serious about helping people get and stay well, and wanted to build a care environment reflective of this. Our community is fortunate to have outstanding providers and extraordinary staff; now we have a state-of-the-art building that is worthy of the care they provide.”

Glenn also says that they’re “not just investing in the here and now,” but that the expansion is about meeting the needs of the community over the next decade.

According to Jefferson Healthcare, the patient-focused expansion for its emergency care and outpatient services was provided to offer a centralized location, with better access to key outpatient services, such as emergency services, oncology, orthopedics, cardiology, lab draws and select diagnostic imaging, according to Jefferson Healthcare. The hospital’s new main patient entrance is in this new building, which faces Manresa Castle, can be accessed off Sheridan Avenue and Seventh Street.

The new building offers some unique features to benefit patients, including cancer treatment spaces on the third floor overlooking Port Townsend Bay, and a green roof of sedum plants which can be seen by both the second and third floors. Scientific studies have shown that just being able to view plants can lead to reduced pain and stress, less fatigue, lower anxiety levels, shorter hospitalization and ultimately, boosting the immune system to encourage your body to heal. The hospital also now has raised garden beds that the dietary team uses to grow herbs for use in meals served in its café.

Jefferson Healthcare has been the recipient of multiple awards as well. Some of which have included

2014 – Achieving Best Care, by the Washington State Hospital Association

2013 – Top 7 WA Hospitals for Surgery, by Consumer Reports

2015, 2014 – Jefferson Healthcare Home Health named Top Agency of HomeCare Elite

2016 – Get with the Guidelines Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award by the American Heart Association/America Stroke Association

Port Ludlow Medical Clinic

The new Port Ludlow Clinic offers a variety of services Port Ludlow residents can access close to home, located on 9481 Oak Bay Road, just across from Port Ludlow Village. It includes six exam rooms, a procedure room, consultation office, lab draw station and X-ray services.

If you need a blood draw, there’s no reason to drive to Port Townsend, or somewhere else, as they’re available every weekday. You can also get your flu shots here, as well as access specialist services, including cardiology and anticoagulation services.

Primary care providers at this facility include Family Medicine physicians Shannon Kirchner, MD and C. Wesley Schott, ARNP. Cardiologist David Tinker, MD, is the visiting specialist from Harrison Health Partners.

Harrison Hospital Expansion

The state recently signed off on a proposal for Harrison Medical Center to build a new hospital in Silverdale, which will provide even more options for Port Ludlow residents, who live about halfway between Port Townsend, which hosts Jefferson Healthcare, and Silverdale.

Local media outlets report that the $500 million expansion in Silverdale will include private patient rooms, a Level III trauma center and heart and cancer care centers, among other services. Construction is already underway on Myhre Road, beginning with the parking garage. Harrison President David Schultz noted that a ceremonial groundbreaking likely will be held in September 2017.

The first phase of expansion also involves constructing a nine-story hospital tower, which CHI Franciscan hopes to complete by early 2020, while second phase of construction in Silverdale, targeted for completion in 2023, will add another tower.

Harrison Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital and the largest medical center in the region, currently with four campuses serving Kitsap, Mason, and Jefferson counties. It includes more than 400 physicians representing 40 specialties, medical and surgical services, cardiovascular services, orthopedics, oncology, and 24-hour emergency care in Silverton and Bremerton.

The facility also hosts support groups, classes and workshops in the area, including an advanced cancer support group in Silverdale, online and phone support groups for caregivers, a grief support group in Poulsbo, and many others. A full list can be found here.

Emergency Services and EMT Accessibility

The Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue Department does a lot more than fight fires, it also provides emergency medical services to the community. With a population of under 3,000, Port Ludlow residents can feel secure knowing that they can count on a professional arriving quickly. The department also added a brand new ambulance in 2016, allowing the district to rotate ambulances to reduce wear and tear and to be sure they can get where they need to be.

Basic Life Support Units staffed by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) provide help for non-life threatening events like injuries, illnesses and minor automobile accidents. The EMTs are go through an extensive training course and must pass a written and practical exam, as well as getting re-certified every three years. There are also Advanced Life Support Units staffed by paramedics and firefighters who undergo even more extensive training and are certified by the state. They are required to attend continuing education programs and are re-certified every three years. Those that staff the ALS Units can start IVs, administer medications, interpret EKGs, defibrillate a patient’s heart, perform emergency cardioversion, external pacing of the heart, endotracheal intubation, and chest decompression.

Port Ludow Fire & Rescue is also able to provide advanced cardiac care, working together with Harrison Medical Center, Kitsap Cardiology and the Poulsbo Doctors Clinic to create protocols that allow paramedics to administer a wide range of medications. Those drugs include thrombolytics or “clot busters,” that are known to destroy a blood clot blocking blood and oxygen to the heart, and provide immediate treatment during a heart attack. Ambulances are also outfitted with telemetry systems that allow physicians and paramedics to follow a course of action designed to treat patients with lifesaving drugs they arrive at the designated cardiac care facility.

Air Life

There are some medical emergencies that require rapid transport that can only be provided by a helicopter flight. These services are typically supplied by Airlift Northwest, but in special circumstances may be performed by the Navy or United States Coast Guard. East Jefferson Fire-Rescue sets up landing zones and fire protection for these landings at the hospital, airport and in field locations throughout the district, depending on the patient’s location.

As lifesaving air medical transport can be expensive and insurance may not cover all costs, Airlift Northwest offers memberships, currently at $79 per year, which can remove that financial burden. It may be worth considering, as the company works directly with insurance companies for processing claims, and will cover the patient responsibility amount indicated by the explanation of benefits for all emergent and medically necessary air medical transport services that are provided to the closest, most appropriate facility. Membership includes coverage for all household members.

Home Health Care

Home health care in Port Ludlow and the surrounding area, can be categorized as either non-medical home care or Medicare certifiedhome health. Non-medical home care includes things like personal care and help with everyday activities, while Medicare certified home health care can range from skilled nursing to physical/occupational therapy. Home health care is often the safest and most affordable solution for supporting a family, allowing your loved one to remain in the comfort of their home. If you live alone and find yourself in need, it can allow you to remain independent, and offer caring companionship too.

Home health care can offer:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living can include bathing, grooming, and medication reminders
  • Access to skilled nursing care at home
  • Support with diet and nutrition
  • Help with light household chores
  • Social interaction, including reading, playing games, going for walks, watching movies, shopping and more
  • A more affordable alternative to hospital or other facility care – the National Association of Home Care reports that the average cost of home health care per visit is $132, whereas a skilled nursing facility is $544 per day

Fortunately, Port Ludlow residents that need help with such things as preparing meals, personal care such as bathing and dressing, and housekeeping, as well as skilled nursing, have multiple options.

Home care agencies, licensed by Washington State, train, pay, supervise and are responsible for the care provided by the professional sent to your home. You can also find, hire, train, pay, and supervise an aide yourself.

Volunteer chore services also exist for low income adults who can’t afford to pay for such services but don’t qualify for other state assistance. These volunteers can help with things like shopping, yard care, minor home repairs, personal care, transportation and general household chores. In Port Ludlow, OlyCAP, which can be reached via email at srand@olycap.org or cby phone at 360-452-4726, is a good option, as is ECHHO (Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization): 360-379-3246 or echhopt@qwestoffice.net.

With such a wide range of options for finding help at home, one of the easiest ways to select the one that’s right for you is to consider both the needs of the person to be cared for, and the current caregiver’s needs (if there is one), as well. There are multiple online checklists that can be found by searching terms like “assessing home care needs” on Google that will assist you in evaluating the options – AARP offers a good list here.

In general, things to think about include health care specifically, such as doctor’s appointments, medication management and physical therapy, as well as personal care like eating, bathing, going to the toilet and dressing; emotional care such as conversation and companionship, and household care like shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning.

Of course it’s also essential to evaluate the values and preferences of the person receiving care. Some people have a preference for a male or female caregiver, and sharing a similar cultural background and/or other interests may be helpful as well. Conducting such an assessment might open up other, alternative options too, like meals-on-wheels programs, visiting services, adult day care, etc.

Here’s a closer look on the options to consider:

Skilled Nursing Care. For those that require skilled nursing care, such as giving injections and wound care, you’ll need to contact a home health agency. In east Jefferson County, Jefferson Healthcare Home Health is the primary option, Medicare-certified with a team of nurses, therapists, certified nursing assistants and other healthcare professionals that provide a full range of services, including:

  • Licensed home health nurses that can assist with medication management, IV antibiotics, would care, and catheter changes.
  • Licensed physical and occupational therapists which not only provide strengthening and home exercise programs but safe assessments and home modification recommendations.
  • Licensed speech therapists for assessing and treating speech and swallowing difficulties, as well as coming up with strategies for improving memory.
  • Certified nursing assistants that can help improve one’s ability to bathe and take care of personal hygiene independently.
  • Professional medical social workers that can provide counseling on financial and emotional support, as well as connect you to other community resources.

2015 marked the second consecutive year Jefferson Healthcare Home Health was recognized for its outstanding performance, awarded as a Top Agency by Home Care Elite, a recognition of the top performing home health agencies in the United States.

Private Home Health Care Workers. Another option is to private hire a home health care worker. You can advertise your particular requirements and hire the one that best suits your needs. This offers a number of benefits, including being less expensive than going through an agency, and the chance to choose the person you think will be best to provide the care. The downside is that it may not be covered by insurance, and if the person becomes ill there may not be a substitute available. You’ll also have to screen, hire/fire, pay and handle the taxes involved.

Adult Day Care. Adult day care can offer a respite for full-time caregivers, OlyCap offers Encore!, an adult social day care program that includes nutritious meals and the chance to learn new skills as well as re-use old skills. It also offers a special program, “Arts and Minds Early Memory Loss Program,” which utilizes creative arts as tools for improving and maintaining cognitive functioning, optimizing abilities and lessening stress. Considered “fitness for the brain,” participants enjoy things like singing, writing songs, composing poems, telling stories, drawing, drumming to stimulate the brain in a fun way.

Companion Services. Companion services include regular visits and/or phone calls to those who live alone or are unable to leave their home. Sometimes this also includes transportation services and things like helping with shopping. Both OlyCap and ECHHO may be able to help if this is the type of service you’re looking for.

Home delivered meals. This service provides nutritious meals to those who have difficulty leaving their home. OlyCap offers Home-Delivered Nutrition Services (HDNS) providing healthy meals that are delivered to individuals in their homes, and other nutrition services to older persons who are normally unable to leave their homes without assistance.

Also keep in mind that those who are on Medicaid and receiving funds to pay for long term care services may also be eligible for the Nurse Delegation Program. With this program, a caregiver may be trained to help with some types of nursing care tasks in your home.

Getting to and from healthcare appointments without driving

There are a number of options when it comes to transportation services to help you get to and from your healthcare appointments if you don’t want to, or are unable to drive.

OlyCAP. In addition to providing home care services in Clallam and Jefferson Counties, including respite care, OlyCAP provides transportation to local medical appointments. For more information you can email srand@olycap.org or call 360-452-4726.

ECHHO. ECHHO (Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization), provides a variety of services, including lending medical equipment to area residents as well as giving rides to medical appointments (both in and out of county) and necessary errands. ECHHO requires notice of at least two business days for local trips and more advanced notice for appointments that are outside of the county. Call 360-379-3246 or email echhopt@qwestoffice.net.

Public transportation. Jefferson Transit offers service to and from Port Ludlow as well on Route #7, with stops on Anchor and Breaker Lanes. Fixed route service can bring you to within a few blocks of most places in Port Townsend, and there is also service to Irondale, Chimacum and Port Hadlock. Other routes can connect you with service east to Seattle, south to Olympia and west, to the towns along the Pacific coast. There are also door-to-door Dial a Ride services for those with disability. Visit the Jefferson Transit website here for more information, or call 360-385-4777.

Rocket Transportation. Rocket offers door-to-door shuttle service, with all shuttles lit equipped. Available by reservation, it includes services to hospitals throughout the county as well as the Puget Sound area.

Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) Transportation services. The HCA covers non-emergency medical transportation for those who are eligible, including those in the Apple Health (Medicaid) and other state-funded medical assistance programs that include a transportation benefit. It’s generally authorized, and covered, for those who have no other means to access medical care. The most common types of transportation available include public transit, taxi, wheelchair van or accessible vehicle, commercial bus and air, and ferry tickets.

Pharmacies and Pharmacy Home Delivery

There are a number of pharmacies in the local area. The closest are in Port Hadlock and include:

  • Tri-Area Pharmacy, 65 Oak Bay Road
  • QFC Pharmacy at 1890 Irondale Road

Port Townsend also offers two pharmacies:

  • Safeway Pharmacy, 442 West Sims Way
  • Don’s Pharmacy, 1151 Water Street

Home Delivery Service. There are multiple pharmacies that offer home delivery service, which can be particularly convenient for those who are prescribed maintenance medications, as well as patients who receive 90-day supplies of a prescription. Depending on your insurer, discounts can also be significant, especially when it comes to certain generic medications that you take regularly for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. For those medications, you may be able to order a three-month supply of some types for a co-payment of just a few dollars, or even $0 in some cases, including free shipping.

If you’d prefer having your prescriptions delivered to you rather than having to drive to the drugstore, it certainly seems like a win-win situation, but there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  1. Before signing up, be sure that you’ll actually benefit financially, by comparing what your insurer’s mail order pharmacy will charge, including shipping, with the cost at the local pharmacy – be sure to figure in the cost of getting there, including your time.
  2. Many insurance companies now offer 90-day fills at local pharmacies for prices that are comparable to mail order. Check with your individual health plan to see where you can get 90-day fills at the best rates.
  3. If you’ve already developed a good relationship with your local pharmacist, are happy with it, and your medications are reasonably priced, switching to mail order may not make sense. While mail order pharmacies have pharmacists on staff that can answer your question, many people prefer face-to-face, personal interactions.
  4. As most mail order programs ship a 90-day supply of medications at a time, this option may not be feasible for drugs that you need right away, or are only taking for brief periods, such as antibiotics for an infection or drugs prescribed following surgery.
  5. If you’re currently covered under an insurance plan, you may also be eligible to take advantage of additional savings provided using some of these services. Be sure to check with the particular pharmacy you’re considering as well as your insurance company. Some plans restrict coverage for home delivery, even when that same prescription is covered if you were to pick it up at the store.
  6. Keep the downsides in mind. There are a number of downsides to mail deliver, such as miscommunications, and medications that don’t always arrive on time, and that can be dangerous for those who rely on them. You can help avoid a delay by ordering well in advance (at least two weeks before running out if you aren’t set up for automatic refills. Some mail order pharmacies have also been known to send out prescriptions through auto-renewal without checking to see if you’re still taking the medication, of if the dosage has changed. This isn’t the case with Medicare Part D drug plans, as they now require mail order pharmacies to get the okay from the patient before shipping a new prescription or refill.
  7. If you decide to get your regular medications through mail order delivery, but still occasionally use a traditional pharmacy, it’s essential to let both pharmacies know about all of the medications you’re taking, and keep them updated regularly, so that you can be alerted to possible interactions.

Home Delivery Service and Medicare. All Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans offer access to mail order prescription services, allowing you to order up to three months of prescribed medications at a time. This service typically offers cost savings as well. Orders can be placed online, over the phone or through the mail – just remember to place them well in advance. Medicare recommends placing your order at least two weeks before your prescription runs out. Call your Medicare drug plan to find out the specific coverage rules for your plan.

Tips For Finding a New Doctor in the Port Ludlow Area

When moving to a new area, one of the top concerns for many is finding a new doctor. As most people know more about how to purchase a new vehicle than about selecting a doctor, it can be a rather difficult task, but following these tips can make the process a whole lot easier. Smart questions, along with a bit of healthy skepticism, can help you find the healthcare provider that’s right for you.

Do some research before you move.  While it may not always be possible, it’s worth doing some research before you move, as your current provider may have a connection in east Jefferson County through a fellowship program, medical school, networking and so on. You don’t have to limit yourself to asking your current doctor, check with nurses and other healthcare professionals too. If you’ve made any connections with people in your new hometown, find out the names of doctors they like and trust.

Check with your insurance. Once you have some names, search your insurer’s directory to find out which doctors are in your network. As they tend to frequently drop and add plans, it’s also important to call the office to verify that they do accept your insurance.

Use Google. If you weren’t able to get the names of trusted physicians, or your list is limited, you may want to search the doctors that accept your insurance by doing a bit of Googling. Most these days have at least some online presence that can provide valuable clues. You might even be able to turn up some online reviews, on consumer feedback sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. If there are a lot of bad reviews, it’s certainly a red flag, but keep in mind that people are much more likely to take the time to leave a negative review than a positive one. Healthgrades.com is an easy-to-use site that can turn up helpful information. You can search my name, specialty, procedure or condition and get information on affiliated hospitals, education, sanctions, malpractice claims and board actions, as well as office locations, and insurance plans.

In the process of Googling, if you locate any research papers he or she has authored, you may be able to get a better idea of his or her strengths.

Check board certifications. If the physician is certified through the American Board of Medical Specialties that means the doctor has earned a medical degree from a qualified medical school, completed three to seven years of accredited residency training, is licensed by a state medical board, and has passed one or more exams administered by a member of the ABMS. To maintain that certification, a doctor is also expected to participate in continuing education. You can find out if a doctor is certified by searching certificationmatters.org.

Look into malpractice claims and disciplinary actions. The first place to go to check into problems your potential doctor may have faced, is the Washington State medical board. Washington physicians are licensed by Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC). Washington providers can be checked here. Search on the healthcare provider’s last name and first initial. If there is a red “yes,” under action taken, that provider has been investigated and disciplined, or has agreed to a Stipulation in Lieu of Discipline. If there is a “no,” that means that provider hasn’t been disciplined, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t under investigation. You can find out by contacting the MQAC Customer Service Center at 360-263-4700.

It’s a bit more difficult to find out if a provider has been sued for malpractice, as the records aren’t available to the public. You can, however, visit the Washington Courts website at www.courts.wa.gov, select “search case records” and the search for the provider by name under “access court records.” If something turns up, understand that even good doctors can get sued once or twice, but you definitely don’t want someone who’s had lots of malpractice claims.

Ask questions. Once you’ve narrowed your list down, it’s time to make phone calls to find out more about the total experience. Ask how long it takes to get in for a routine visit, whether or not same-day appointments are offered, and the average time patients are kept in the waiting room. You’ll also get an idea of how friendly and efficient the office staff is – even if the doctor is outstanding, if the staff seems rude, uncaring or unwilling to get answers when they don’t have, that can have a big negative impact on your overall care and the experience. These are the people that will be checking you in and out, scheduling your appointments, giving your doctor messages, addressing insurance concerns, etc.

Guide to the Port Ludlow Maritime Community

Guide to the Port Ludlow Maritime Community

One of the many reasons people decide to move to Port Ludlow is the maritime community. And, while you don’t have to have a boat to live here, you may soon discover that boating is rather infectious. With one of the best marinas in the Northwest, along with an outstanding community of family and friends who share a passion for the water to go with it, odds are, you’ll find yourself joining the many boat owners in Port Ludlow.

Port Ludlow Yacht Club Commodore Anne Burrell-Smith and her husband Ramsay found themselves in that exact situation – they became first-time boat owners after making the move a few years ago.

Burrell-Smith says that she’s “honored” to keep her boat at the Port Ludlow Marina, and has discovered an incredible sense of community here. Local boaters, most of whom live just minutes from the marina, spend lots of time hanging out on their boats, catching up with the news of the day, enjoying dinner or just relaxing and enjoying the unrivaled views from the water. It’s easy to see how quickly stress melts away, surrounded by the glistening bay, the never-ending sea of green along the shore and the soaring mountains that provide a breathtaking backdrop. Having a boat at this marina means that you can easily enjoy a leisurely cruise along the unspoiled shoreline, watching for bald eagles that are perched in the branches of the trees, along with herons, otters and seals. You can enjoy a sunset trip after a long day at work, or in between all of those activities that are keeping you busy in retirement.

Not only does the scenery rival even that of what you’d find in the San Juan Islands, but Burrell-Smith notes that the staff at Port Ludlow Marina truly help to round out the overall experience, throwing out compliments like “the nicest,” “awesome” and “most helpful.”

Take marine manager Kori Ward, for example. She’s worked at the marina since she was just 18 years old, starting a quarter of a century ago. Her job is to “keep the boaters happy,” – it’s the only job she’s ever had, and it’s one that she obviously does very well.

In an interview with the Seattle Times, she remarked, “I’ve tried to make this more of a destination, not just a place for people to park their boat.” And that includes helping boaters tie up on a busy day, or even delivering ice when the beer starts to get warm. Ward and the marina staff also ensure that someone is here year-round to help. Unlike many other marinas, boaters will always find a smiling face willing to assist with whatever questions or challenges that might come up.

Burrell-Smith isn’t the only one that appreciates the marina staff. When surveys are sent out to the boaters who moor here, there is one thing that always stands out: that friendly, helpful smile everyone seems to get.

While visiting boaters love to dock at the marina, located inside protected, sunny Port Ludlow Bay, for many boaters, this is their ultimate destination, as they get to enjoy the view from their boats, and their homes, every day of the year.

If you’re thinking about joining them, here’s a closer look at what you should know about Port Ludlow Marina, and the maritime community.

Location

Experienced boaters know that when it comes to location, it just doesn’t get much better than the Port Ludlow Marina. It’s centrally located, providing easy access to a myriad of boating adventures, including destinations in the north like British Columbia’s Gulf Islands; Maple Bay on Vancouver Island, set within a sheltered harbor in the Cowichan Region, and popular destinations in the south, like Anderson Island, the South Puget Sound’s southernmost island, considered one of the area’s best kept secrets.

You’ll be right in the heart of all this region has to offer, with so many potential adventures that await, you could embark on a different one practically every day if you chose to. This is just a short list of the destinations that are within reach:

  • San Juan Islands
  • Deception Pass Marine Park on Whidbey Island
  • Pleasant Harbor and Hood Canal
  • Seattle (Bell Harbor)
  • The Central Sound – Poulsbo and Gig Harbor
  • Olympia and South Sound Destinations
  • Gulf Islands
  • Victoria, B.C. and the famous Butchart Gardens
  • Desolation Sound
  • B.C. Sunshine Coast

Safety

If you’re a boat owner, and even if you aren’t, you’re probably well aware that a boat isn’t a cheap investment. The initial purchase and maintenance can come with a high price tag, so you want to be sure your boat is safe while it’s docked – and, that doesn’t only mean whether or not it’s likely to be vandalized. Port Ludlow has an overall crime rate that’s 63% lower than the national average – you have just a 1 in 96 chance of becoming a victim of any crime, so the more important concern is how well your vessel will be protected from the weather. The good news is that even when those occasionally vicious wind storms hit, due to the sheltered nature of the bay, boats are kept protected. In fact, more than a few have noted that on an especially windy day out in the water, they pull into the Port Ludlow Marina to get away from it, as it tends to stay relatively calm, even when it’s rough out on the open water.

Amenities

Of course, amenities are important too, and some are absolutely essential, like electrical hookups in order to keep those batteries charged; fresh, clean water for cleanup and other purposes, and a fuel dock. Other considerations may be dock boxes, showers and nearby facilities, like restaurants, a place to pick up groceries and on land activities such as golf and hiking.

The Port Ludlow Marina offers all of that and then some. It hosts more than 300 slips that range from 20’ to 50’ along with 200 feet of side ties for larger boats. More docks are expected to be added in the near future, and are estimated to increase the marina’s capacity by about 25%. Slips on two of the docks are reserved for transient guests, while the remainder are behind a locked gate for either monthly or annual moorage.

The marina provides an ample supply of fresh water and hookups, with 30 amp and 50 amp shore power available. Recently remodeled facilities include free showers and bathrooms for boaters to use, and there is a marina store that sells groceries, gifts, beer and wine.

Some of the other amenity highlights include a fuel dock with ValvTechFuel, dock boxes, stationary and portable pump-out services and wireless Internet. The marina also offers single and double kayaks, standup paddle boards and other watercraft rentals that allow you to see the area from a different perspective, as well as providing bicycles for rent. There is also a complimentary shuttle to the golf course.

Marina tenants have the added benefit of getting discounts one some amenities too, like the two areas that can be rented for parties. There is a large tented area that can hold up to two dozen picnic tables with room for live entertainment and dancing, and a covered shelter with picnic tables that has an adjoining area that includes a fire pit. Onsite catering is available too, and there are multiple gathering areas for things like pot lucks and barbecues.

Both tenants and visitors can enjoy access to the award-winning Fireside Restaurant, a championship 18-hole golf course and the 26 miles of scenic hiking trails.

Conditions

Of course, cleanliness and the conditions of a marina are high on the priority list as well. In fact, the most common negative review when it comes to marinas is cleanliness. A marina that is free of trash is important for the overall-experience. Thanks to the dedicated marina staff here, as well as the spectacular environment we live in, these issues are not a problem at the Port Ludlow Marina.

Port Ludlow resident Captain Rick Schurman, had this to say about the marina in his 5-star review posted on activecaptain.com:

“This is one of the best marinas on Puget Sound and maybe the West Coast. It has all types of marine fuels, AC power hookups, marina store that carries snacks, some food and necessity items and some marine supplies. The staff are outstanding, friendly and always willing to help. Open the usual business hours with extended hours to 8 PM in the summer. Other amenities such as golf (free transport available) at the PL Golf Club and swimming/hot tub/exercise room at the Beach Club. Another larger convenience grocery is about 1/4 mile up the road at the Village which has craft shops, personal care, post office and pizza joint. There is an upscale hotel with a restaurant as well as another restaurant and bar within 5 minutes walking distance. If you want peace and quiet with blue herons and bald eagles or go crabbing this is the place.”

Port Ludlow Yacht Club

Boat owners might also want to consider joining the Port Ludlow Yacht Club. It’s a fun way to mingle with others that share your love for their water and enjoy a host of social activities, like happy hour get-togethers at the Port Ludlow Golf Course restaurant, Niblick’s, and dinner events held throughout the year. The Wreck Room serves as the club’s social epicenter, open on Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Port Ludlow Yacht Club also hosts a number of organized cruises, generally between April and October, with an annual holiday “mini-cruise” to Bell Harbor in Seattle in December. The San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands are popular cruises, with trips usually occurring at least once a year to both destinations.

There are also events and classes hosted by the club that revolve around boating, including an annual Training Day which focuses on safety, emerging technology and current issues of the boating community that’s held as a day-long forum that is not only open to Port Ludlow Yacht Club members, but to other yacht clubs and the general public.

Anne Burrell-Smith, whom you were introduced to early, is the Yacht Club Commodore and oversees the club’s functions, conducts the monthly board meetings and coordinates the annual Commodore’s cruise.

Guide to Commuting from Port Ludlow

Guide to Commuting from Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow may be a small, rural community, allowing residents to truly immerse themselves in a higher quality of life surrounded by the beauty of nature, but doesn’t mean there is a lack of transportation options. Yes, there is that body of water known as the Puget Sound that tends to get in the way, separating the Olympic Peninsula from the Greater Seattle area, but there are still multiple ways to get there from here.

Take time to visualize where Port Ludlow is in relation to Seattle. A quick Google Maps search will reveal a number of different routes, some of which involve taking the ferry, and another option for driving around.

Many Olympic Peninsula residents who live in Jefferson and Kitsap Counties commute to work in Seattle, and prefer the trip via ferry, where they can read the newspaper, work on their laptop or sip coffee and enjoy the scenery during the ride, rather than being stuck somewhere on the interstate moving at a crawl. They beat the commuter traffic, leave the highway stress behind, and hop on the ferry for a relaxing trip to work. There are four routes that stretch across the Puget Sound, linking Peninsula communities to Seattle for what has to be one of the most scenic commutes around, with the most common for Port Ludlow residents being either the Bainbridge Island to Seattle ferry, or the Kingston to Edmonds ferry.

Of course, most people don’t move to Port Ludlow with the plan of commuting to work in Seattle everyday either. More than a few, however, are in “semi-retirement,” holding part time jobs or have other reasons to make frequent trips to the city, while the rest of us occasionally want to head east to catch a Mariners’ or Seahawks’ game, take a flight out of Seatac Airport, visit with friends, or get there for many other reasons.

So what’s the best way to get from point A to point B?

Well, there is no one “best” way, but you do have lots of choices. And, with transportation options continually expanding in the area, you can look forward to even more in the very near future, with an increasing number of people seeking to improve their quality of life by making a move to Port Ludlow and the surrounding area.

We’ll take an in-depth look at all of the options to help you make sense of it all.

 

The New Fast Ferry in Kingston

One of the most exciting transportation options coming to the Olympic Peninsula soon, is the Kitsap Fast Ferry from Kingston to Seattle. Kitsap Transit moved forward with its plans to launch this service following voter approval of Proposition 1, which also includes fast ferries from Bremerton as well as Southworth. Getting from Kingston to Seattle today takes an average of 80 minutes, but with the new fast ferry, that time will be cut dramatically – to 33 minutes.

While this will be a passenger-only service, it will be not only be ideal for those who need to reach downtown Seattle, but to other points throughout the region as well, as it’s easy to connect to both bus and rail service from the Seattle ferry dock. According to KitsapFerries.com, from May through September, the ferries will operate with all-day, bidirectional service from all three terminals, including Kingston: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. Between October and April, the service will be available only during weekday peak periods.

The full, round-trip fare will be $12 ($2 collected in Kingston and $10 in Seattle). Seniors, youth, disabled and low-income riders pay half that, and bus riders that board the ferry will be credited for their bus fare.

Kitsap Transit will manage the fast-ferry system, setting service schedules and fares locally based on the needs of area residents.

Kingston – Seattle service is expected to launch in July 2018, while Bremerton launches in July 2017, and Southworth in 2020.

The new system will have a number of positive impacts on Kitsap County and Jefferson County residents, including providing better access to jobs, medical services, education, sporting events, shopping and entertainment. When the fleet is fully operating, area communities are also likely to benefit from addition sales and tax revenue from tourism.

Driving

Most people drive their own vehicles to get to and from Port Ludlow. There are multiple routes that can be taken, utilizing the ferry, or driving around via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (be aware there is a one-way toll, currently $5 per vehicle). Depending on the season, the day of the week and the time of the day, either may be quicker. It’s a 94-mile drive from Port Ludlow to Seattle, traveling south to Gig Harbor, across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and then driving north on Interstate 5 to Seattle. Typically, that drive takes anywhere from an hour and 40 minutes to about two hours.

Bainbridge Island/Seattle Ferry

Another option is to drive to the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal (about 45 minutes from Port Ludlow), and drive onto the ferry, which will bring you directly to downtown Seattle in 35 minutes. The downside is that you may have to plan for a wait – in the summer, and on holiday weekends, that wait can get long, which is why driving around makes more sense in some cases. If you don’t need your vehicle in Seattle, you can park in the terminal parking lot and walk on to avoid a long wait.

There are numerous options for transportation from the Seattle Ferry Terminal, including walking, biking, taxis and Uber or Lyft rides. Amtrak can easily be accessed as well. If you need to go beyond Downtown, the Link Light Rail connects Downtown Seattle with SeaTac International Airport, the stadiums, Rainier Valley, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. The Sounder Commuter Rail services the direct metro communities of Seattle, including Edmonds, Puyallup, Kent and many others.

Taking Link Light Rail from Downtown Seattle to the airport is extremely convenient, and you won’t have to worry about being delayed in traffic. There are 12 stops between downtown and SeaTac, and the trains run every 6 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day, so there’s no need to consult a time table. The airport is the end of the line. When leaving the airport, you’ll find the SeaTac Airport Light Rail Station connected to the fourth floor of the main parking garage. A covered pedestrian walkway leads from the passenger terminal and sky bridges to the light rail station. From, there, you can get on any train that’s departing, as they all travel to Seattle. The journey, in either direction, takes about 40 minutes.

Link Light Rail Service is available from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from 6 a.m. to midnight on Sunday and holidays.

Kingston/Edmonds Ferry

Washington State Ferries currently runs a route between Kingston and Edmonds. You can drive, walk or bike onto this ferry, which may be a better option for those who need to get to points north of Seattle. The crossing time is 30 minutes.

If you want to walk or bike onto the ferry, there are public transportation options that can be accessed in Edmonds, including the Sounder commuter train, which runs on the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks near the waterfront. There are four trains from Edmonds to Seattle every weekday morning, and four trains from Seattle to Edmonds each evening.

Sound Transit service is offered from Edmonds as well, and can bring you to Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Union and other points throughout the Greater Seattle Area.

The Bus

Jefferson Transit. Jefferson Transit offers even more options for Port Ludlow residents who need to get to Seattle. It’s also the source for bus service throughout the county, allowing you to easily to get Port Townsend, Sequim or Port Angeles, as well as Poulsbo, Silverdale, or Bremerton.

The total time from Port Ludlow to Seattle via this route is an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Follow these steps:

  1. Take the No. 7 route from Oak Bay Road/Walker Way (access schedules here) to Poulsbo.
  2. Arrive at the North Viking Transit Center, and take the No. 90, Bainbridge bus to the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.
  3. Take the Bainbridge Ferry to Downtown Seattle.

Olympic Bus Lines. The Dungeness Line, operated by Olympic Bus Lines, provides two trips each day. Pickups are in Port Townsend, Discovery Bay, Kingston (eastbound only) and Edmonds (westbound only) to SeaTac International Airport, Seattle Amtrak, Seattle area hospitals and Seattle Greyhound. Advance reservations are strongly advised. The service is a step above traditional bus service, and includes locally-made cookies, bottled water, free Wi-Fi and the ferry ride between Kingston and Edmonds.

Shuttle Service

Rocket Transportation offers door-to-door airport shuttle service to and from Jefferson County to SeaTac International Airport. Service to area hospitals in Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton and Silverdale is also offered. While it isn’t the cheapest option, it’s typically very convenient. As not as many ride from Port Ludlow, the cost can be higher, but that can be cut significantly by requesting a pickup at the Port Hadlock QFC.

Kenmore Air

Kenmore Air offers private charters that can get to you Seattle in as little as 20 minutes. While it’s a custom charter, if you can gather up a few people to go with you, the cost is relatively reasonable, and it’s a fun way to get there too. The float planes come right into Port Ludlow Marina, picking up and dropping off passengers from the fuel dock. This is the most flexible option, as you’ll determine exactly when you’ll leave, and where the flight will go. In addition to Seattle, you can travel via Kenmore Air to just about any other spot throughout the Pacific Northwest, provided there is a modest airport or stretch of water available as a charter destination.

The Benefits of Living in a Golfing Community

The Benefits of Living in a Golfing Community

While Port Ludlow may best be known as a scenic waterside community, it’s also a top-notch golfing community, home to the championship 18-hole Port Ludlow Golf Course, designed by highly acclaimed golf course architect Robert Muir Graves. Golfing in Port Ludlow means you’ll be teeing off while surrounded by spectacular scenery, with views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Ludlow Bay and Hood Canal. Of course, playing a round of golf anytime the urge hits isn’t the only benefit homeowners enjoy when living in a community with an outstanding golf course, though, admittedly, having more time to practice and enjoy the game is an obvious perk.

Owning a New, Intentionally Designed Home in a Master-Planned Community

Owing a home in a golfing community is often associated with owning a first-class home in a master-planned community. While it can depend on multiple factors, those properties are also more likely to hold their resale value and to weather downturns as they tend to be highly sought after, especially when surrounded by picturesque scenery and a host of other amenities are available too.  The views, the amenities and the atmosphere all make homes more attractive to potential buyers.

Homes in a master-planned golfing community are typically conceptualized, designed and built with future homeowners in mind, adding amenities that the homebuyers will actually want and removing those things that many don’t want or need. Here, where homeowners are the focus of its entire design and development, you can also expect to enjoy more of a “sense of community” too, with neighbors waving hello, perhaps grilling together, and feeling comfortable borrowing an egg or two when coming up short.

The homes are often brand new too, so you’ll get to enjoy benefits like customized details, the landscaping of your choice, greater energy efficiency, the latest technology and safety features, like an alarm system, fire resistant insulation, and more. Intentionally designed homes are built to take advantage of the views too, perhaps of a manicured golf course, or a boat-filled bay.

Golf club membership

Living in a golfing community means that you’ll have the chance to take advantage of all aspects of a golf club membership too. One of the greatest benefits of membership, is not just having the tee time you desire, but the added sense of friendship and community that are important aspects of any golf club. Plus, you can often participate in things like members-only clinics, tournaments, leagues and other events.

The Port Ludlow Golf Course offers a club program that includes unlimited golf with no additional green fees, preferred tee times, discount rates on things like golf balls, clothing, cart rentals and guest fees as well as eligibility to play in special events and local leagues. Many of the members belong to one or more of the local leagues, like the men’s or women’s Nifty Niners, the Men’s Golf Association and the Women’s Golf Association. Plus, there’s a pro shop and café, Niblick’s, an ideal spot for enjoying a bite to eat and relaxing before or after a round.

The opportunity to learn to play

If you don’t golf, this is your opportunity to learn how to play as you’ll have easy access to a place to practice – and, the more you practice, the faster you’ll be able to get out there and join everyone else that’s having a good time. Golf is one of the sports that you can learn to play at any point in your life, and not only will you naturally get better with practice, but you can take advantage of private or group lessons, learning about things like golf etiquette, strategy, putting and chipping, that will help you play your best.

Spending time with friends and improving your social life

Living in a golfing community means that you’ll be living in a place with many others that share similar interests. Naturally, you’ll spend more time out on the course with friends, and you’ll meet plenty of new people that can help improve your social life as well. An active social life is important for well-being, both mentally and physically. It can lower the risk of developing depression, warding off loneliness that’s especially common after retirement. Engaging in a more active social life also helps to relieve stress and even lower your blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart-related ailments. It also benefits cognitive functioning, can slow health decline and even improve your fitness level, simply because it provides motivation to get you up, moving, and out of the house. Of course, with a golf course just steps away, it’s even easier to get inspired to spend time outside with friends.

Health Benefits

As mentioned, golf is a great way to exercise and enjoy an active social life, both of which benefits one’s health in a myriad of ways. Having such easy access to a golf course means that you’re more likely to be active regularly, and just playing one round of golf, if you stay on your feet, can take 18,000 steps. That’s a lot of walking, making one of the biggest perks from a fitness standpoint, the cardio activity that’s involved. With most courses spread across acres of hilly ground, it’s an ideal way to support your cardiovascular health. While most people think of activities like jogging, biking or swimming as being good for the heart, as long as you don’t ride in a cart throughout your game, you’ll get similar cardio benefits from golfing. The sport also involves building muscle strength too, as walking those hills works the hamstrings and quadriceps, while lifting your golf bag and carrying it around develops upper body strength too.

Golfing is great for controlling your weight, as covering all of those acres in a round means lots of calorie burning – in fact, golfers may burn as much as 1,000 calories in a single game, especially when carrying their own clubs. But golfing not only exercises the body, it exercises the brain, which is important for longevity as well as enjoying a higher quality of life as it helps reduce memory loss by forcing you to remember things like tips, techniques and numbers. It also fosters hand-eye coordination that keeps the brain active for logical functions, and it even increases brain volume and blood flow – as your heart rate increases, so does blood flow to the brain, stimulating nerve cell connections that can delay age-related disease like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The competition among other golfers serves to boost confidence and self-esteem, and staying focused helps to reduce negative thoughts so you’ll feel happier too.

Golf is particularly good at alleviating stress, which is known to contribute to all sorts of illness and disease. Being outdoors in a place where you can interact with others who share your interests is a great way to forget all about your troubles. The pleasure of walking surrounded by nature and spending time with friends, is an automatic mood booster. Playing a round of golf helps to release endorphins, or “feel-good hormones,” which are natural, mood-enhancing chemicals within our brains that make one feel happier and more relaxed.

All of that exercise means better sleep too. Those who golf more often tend to fall asleep faster, and enjoy more quality rest as they’re able to remain in a deep sleep longer, due to all of the energy that’s expended. Deeper sleep is important so that the body can regenerate cells as well as repair muscle and tissue. When you sleep better on a regular basis, you’ll enjoy benefits that include greater longevity, an uplifted mood, improved memory and focus, greater weight control, be more creative, lower your risk of injury, and you’ll have more energy too.

A wide range of amenities

Homeowners who live in a golfing community often have access to a wide range of other amenities too. Most have a clubhouse with facilities like an exercise room, swimming pool and spa, and areas for events that can be used for meetings, parties and gatherings of all types. You’ll have access to events throughout the year, meaning more opportunities to get to know your neighbors and have fun without having to venture far from home.

At Port Ludlow’s South Bay Club Association, there are instructed water aerobics, Aqua Zumba and Aquawalk hosted at the pool, while Zumba classes, yoga and Mind Body Practice are just some of the other options available. The Port Ludlow Yacht Club offers dozens of social functions every year, making it even easier to meet new people who share at least one of your interests. Its social epicenter, the Wreck Room is open on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, and hosts special events like grilling on the deck and themed nights.

Many communities have onsite eateries, like Port Ludlow’s award-winning Fireside Restaurant, and places those that are fortunate to enjoy a waterside location may even have a marina. The Port Ludlow Marina allows residents and their guests to enjoy a host of resort activities along the waterfront, as well as the ability to dock their vessels for easy access to excursions out on the bay and well beyond.

If you have family and friends that want to visit and enjoy their own private space, yet still be fairly close by, some golfing communities even offer accommodation options, like the 37-room Port Ludlow Inn, renowned for its gorgeous water and mountain views, along with amenities like a private balcony, fireplace and/or jetted tub.

The Bottom Line

Just imagine, a therapy that had no known side effects, could improve your well-being and fairly inexpensive and readily available. That’s what you get living in a golfing community, and a whole lot more, from great opportunities to spend time in nature, exercise, foster new and existing relationships, and plenty of time for relaxation too.

Guide to Emergency Plans in Port Ludlow

Guide to Emergency Plans in Port Ludlow

Emergency preparedness is not only important for individuals and families, but for towns, cities and counties of all sizes. We live in a spectacularly beautiful place, so it’s hard to think about the potential for natural and manmade disaster, like earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, hazardous material spills and the like, but being prepared reduces the anxiety, fear and losses, that can accompany them.

According to a report by Jefferson County Emergency Management, there have been 11 Presidential Declared Disasters since 1962, with eight of those the result of severe storms that caused flooding, landslides and wind damage. The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake also resulted in damage to property within the county.

While that’s a relatively small amount considering they’ve occurred over nearly six decades, no matter what the odds of an event it’s essential to be ready prepared, just in case. As Jefferson County continues to grow, the magnitude of the impacts of natural and human-made disasters on human life and economic development increases, as the report adds. And, no matter what the chances of one affecting you and your family directly, the more you’re prepared, the better off you’ll be.

Natural hazards that could significantly impact our county include:

  • Flood
  • Drought
  • Tsunami
  • Volcano eruption
  • Fire
  • Avalanche
  • Landslide

There are also human-made hazards that exist too, including food and water contamination, energy emergency, dam failure and civil disturbance.

The most common disaster that has occurred in Jefferson County over the past 60 years is flooding and landslides due to severe storms.

There have been relatively few earthquakes that would be considered major in Jefferson County, although they have been reported in the region since as early as 1834. Shaking at a Modified Mercalli Intensity of at least VI, which means strong enough to be felt by all and to move heavy furniture, did occur in the county during the 1872 North Cascades earthquake, as well as the 1909, 1949, 1965, and 2001 Puget Sound earthquakes. No major damaging earthquakes have been shown to have occurred within the county before the advent of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) in 1969. The largest earthquake recorded in the county was a magnitude 4.2 event on June 8, 1980, south of Blyn.

Despite that, Jefferson County has taken a number of measures to prepare for the “Big One,” should it occur, such as an exercise in 2016 which simulated the impact of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, with ground shaking lasting as long as five minutes. That type of major quake off the Washington coast, the county says, would send “multiple waves into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and throughout Hood Canal and Puget Sound, therefore the exercise was designed to test and improve joint operations between federal, state and local emergency management and response agencies, tribal nations, businesses and nongovernmental organizations across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, Canada.”

While that may sound like a lot of gloom and doom, the good news is that both Port Ludlow and Jefferson County have very detailed plans in place to help you and everyone in your neighborhood to become better prepared for a worst-case-scenario. Neighbors can share skills, equipment and other needed resources.

Port Ludlow Emergency Management Plans

The Port Ludlow Village Council has a committee dedicated to emergency management. It includes Acting Chair Bill Dean, and committee members Pat Lohrey, Ginny Munger, Tink Green and Harlan Whitling.

The Port Ludlow emergency program is dedicated to educating residents on preparedness, to serve as a communications vehicle and to facilitate self-help should a disaster occur. As the PLVC notes, disaster refers to a “natural or man-made event (such as a storm, earthquake, wildfire or explosion) that could result in one or more of the following conditions: (a) causes substantial property damage and/or serious injuries to residents; (b) shuts down the telephone system; (c) results in extended power outage and/or (d) disrupts transportation. Other, smaller scale emergencies like a small scale house fire, vehicle accidents, etc. are handled by the Fire Department through calling 911.

In addition to the committee, there are more than 100 trained volunteer neighborhood Block Captains, coordinated by North Bay or South Bay Emergency Management Coordinators (Port Ludlow is divided into North Bay and South Bay), along with a CERT Coordinator and Radio/HAM Coordinators.

The Block Captains are in charge of their particular area, and develop a roster of residents, with information on everyone, including whether or not they might have special skills to help in an emergency, or if they have special needs or limitations that potential rescuers should know about. They also distribute preparedness information, including encouraging every residence to have their own preparedness plan, having a supply of food, water and other essentials to subsist independently for at least three weeks.

Every resident is also given a HELP/OK sign so that during an emergency, if assistance is needed, during a disaster, the Block Captain will drive or walk around the area and determine who is okay, and who needs help. Each captain then reports to the North Bay or South Bay Coordinator, depending on which they belong to. The coordinator is then able to track where help is needed, what the hazards are, and report that information through the Director and HAM radio designee. The radio communication system referred to as FRS (Family Radio System), links 34 separate neighborhoods in Port Ludlow with the South and North Bay Communication Centers, located at the Bay and Beach Clubs. The FRS receives the information from the coordinators and then relays the critical needs to the Fire Department, or Jefferson County Emergency Management, depending on the particular situation.

After that information is relayed, the Captains organize uninjured neighbors who are fit to help, and provide assistance to others who are in need. There are also certified Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), located throughout the community who have been trained to provide more in-depth assistance should disaster occur.

As PLVC emergency management committee member Ginny Munger notes, there are also regular radio drills. Both FRS radios and HAM radio operators are used, as there are some messages FRS radios can’t send due to distance. In addition Munger says, the committee is working on building a list of resources, such as people who have medical training, electricians, plumbers, veterinarians, etc., who can be called in to help. As the fire station resources will be limited, they are also working at making Port Ludlow as self-sufficient as possible. If needed, both the Beach Club in North Bay and the Bay Club in South Bay can be used as Red Cross shelters.

Neighborhoods and towns that organize their resources in a disaster are much better prepared for the first 72 hours after a disaster.

The PLVC also hosts occasional emergency training preparedness training through the Red Cross for all Port Ludlow residents, which includes literature, check lists and other information that’s essential to know for creating a family emergency plan, building your own emergency preparation kit, and information about hazards that are specific to the Olympic Peninsula, like fires, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Transportation

Jefferson County is on a peninsula, but its main supply routes make it feel like an island as two of the three major transportation links, the Ferry System and the Hood Canal Bridge, cross water. Of course the bridge and the ferry system can be affected by severe winter storms, tsunami and earthquakes. Should a tsunami follow an earthquake, it is possible that combination could to take out the primary transportation routes in and out of the county, resulting in the need for Jefferson County to be self-sufficient for what could be a large number of days, and then be supplemented by emergency transportation assistance – all of these plans have been put into place to increase the odds of resident survival.

Power

Jefferson County Public Utility District (PUD) works with county officials and the Jefferson-Peninsula Regional Planning Committee (JPREP) to assure reliable power, particularly during severe local storms. This operational level work group consists of local emergency response agencies, support organizations, and disaster relief volunteer groups. Its purpose is to provide an ongoing forum for the exchange of information and collaborative planning to meet emergency needs. The PUD maintains service vehicles and a list of employees that live on the Jefferson County side of the Hood Canal Bridge so that response times will be timely during severe weather-related conditions or disasters. In the event that the bridge is closed, there are employees and a resource plan ready and prepared to respond for emergencies that may occur in East Jefferson County, including Port Ludlow.

Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management

In addition to Port Ludlow’s emergency management committee, Jefferson County offers its own, in order to help prepare for, respond to and recover from disaster in all types of large scale emergencies in the county.

It offers a very helpful guide which the Port Ludlow Village Council also keeps on file and can be found here online. Think. Plan. Do! Repeat is an extensive, detailed guide for individuals and neighborhoods that can help ensure that you, your family and neighbors are prepared in the event of an emergency. The handbook includes individual and household preparedness to shelter in place; evacuation information, GRAB&GO KITS, local resources to neighborhood preparedness, disaster-specific preparedness, health emergencies, and even boat and water safety tips, which is especially important for Port Ludlow, considering the many boat owners here.

The county also has a mobile command post, which is a fully functioning Emergency Operation Center that can be taken to any remote location throughout Jefferson County. When deployed, it serves as the coordination center for all of disaster operations and management including intelligence gathering, planning, logistics, fire, law, public works, mass care, public health and more.

Washington State Emergency Management

In addition to local and county emergency preparedness, the state also offers a wealth of information on how to be prepared along with emergency contacts throughout Jefferson and Clallam Counties that can be accessed here. It includes household emergency preparation, evacuation routes, what to do in a power outage, avoiding and surviving rip currents, special tips and multiple other resources.

There is even more information at the Washington State Department of Health, covering everything from hot and cold weather safety, home fires and water purification to terrorism and sewage spills.

Signing Up for Text Message and Email Alerts

The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management will send out emergency information alerts in regard to severe weather, tsunami warnings, major traffic closures and other local emergencies. You can sign up by visiting www.jeffcoeoc.org, clicking on the phone icon to subscribe to free text alerts and email messages about emergencies that affect Jefferson County as they happen.

Guide to Understanding the Openings and Closings of the Hood Canal Bridge

Guide to Understanding the Openings and Closings of the Hood Canal Bridge

Thousands of vehicles cross the Hood Canal Bridge every day. The floating bridge that carries State Route 104 across the Hood Canal, connecting the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, is the longest of its kind in a saltwater tidal basin and the third longest floating bridge in the world overall. Since opening in 1961, it’s become an important link for local residents and travelers.

The average number of vehicles that cross each weekday, as recorded by the Hood Canal video cams, is nearly 15,000, and on the weekend, that number is closer to 19,000, with the majority of trips made by residents of Port Ludlow and Port Townsend. During the week, one-third of those travelers use it for work, while weekend trips are mostly recreational, according to a survey given to area residents.

When the Hood Canal Bridge is open, we take it for granted, driving across without a care. But, when it’s closed, we realize just how vital it really is. As one of the world’s longest floating bridges, a closure can turn what would be a 1.5 mile trip into a 115-mile journey around Hood Canal. Unlike other floating bridges in the state, as this bridge sits in salt water, the harsh and corrosive environment results in a need for daily maintenance to ensure it functions for both marine and vehicular traffic. Fortunately, when maintenance or construction work needs to be done, it’s usually conducted at night, when there are few travelers that need to use it. The Washington Department of Transportation notes that they work hard to condense any closures down to as few days and as few hours as possible, scheduling them at night when there are lower traffic volumes.

In the scheme of things, a bridge closure typically affects few residents – there are only rare closures that happen during regular commute hours. causing problems for many. And, when that does happen, everything does not come to a halt – there are numerous contingency plans put into place.

So far in 2017, the bridge has been shut down just once for weather, due to brutal winds that wreaked havoc across the region in early February. The drawspan must be opened during heavy winds to relieve pressure on the bridge. This bridge isn’t like the floating bridges in Seattle, as those cross a lake, and aren’t subject to tidal forces. The Hood Canal Bridge endures the daily stress of tidal swings, and when fierce winds hit during bad weather, it intensifies the force that’s being exerted on the bridge, with pressure strong enough that it could damage important components. The wind storm “season” is from October through March, and while it’s impossible to predict how often one will hit during this period, it’s rare to experience them more than once or twice a season, meaning during those five months, it’s likely to be open for travel 99% of the time.

Short Bridge Closures

Shorter closures can occur as well, as long established law requires that boats have the right-of-way over vehicles, when the bridge blocks the path of marine traffic. The Department of Transportation has an agreement to prevent some seasonal drawspan openings, and between May 22 and September 30 each year, private vessels are prohibited from requiring an opening during peak afternoon commute hours, from 3 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. daily. That rule doesn’t apply to commercial, U.S Navy or other Department of Defense vessels. When the bridge has to be closed to allow marine traffic to pass, it can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes before it’s opened again.

Contingency Plans for Bridge Closure

When there are planned bridge closures, the Transportation Department develops various solutions for different bridge users, whether commuters, medical patients or something else.

For example, in 2009 during a six week closure, there were several free water shuttles available to transport passengers between Jefferson and Kitsap County, as well as free bus service to get them to departure points and from landing points to various destinations. Public transit modified routes, and expanded service, to make it easier for residents to get from points throughout the Peninsula, including Port Ludlow, to downtown Seattle as well.

Those with medical appointments were able to reserve a spot on a “medical bus,” which met water shuttles for transport to Kitsap County medical facilities, and there was also a free service using the Port Townsend ferry to get people to the Seattle area in need of essential treatment. Military veterans receiving care in the Seattle area had special transportation options as well.

In a medical emergency, local emergency service agencies have contingency plans to ensure care, including the water shuttle for after-hours transports, medical airlift and more.

Bridge Alerts

A great way to limit the effect bridge closures can have is to sign up for bridge alerts. You’ll get updates on closures by subscribing (for free) to Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) email or text alerts. It includes alerts to bridge closures as well as construction updates and traffic conditions. Click here to subscribe. You can also subscribe to text alerts by texting 468311 with the words “wsdot hood.”

Additionally, there are notifications of scheduled drawspan openings on the Hood Canal Bridge Area Traffic Alerts and Cameras web page here, and more information and updates are posted on the WSDOT Facebook page too.

Another site to sign up for to receive insider updates is Nextdoor.com. This is a social networking site that is specific to neighborhoods and towns. It can be very helpful for a myriad of things, from alerting neighbors to be on the lookout if one of your pets wanders off, selling or giving away items, when you’re looking for local service recommendations and much more. When there are bridge closures and one of your neighbors is affected, they may use the site to post that information as well. The Port Ludlow neighborhood page can be found here.

By law, WSDOT is required to open the Hood Canal Bridge drawspan to mariners within one hour’s notice, and motorists are advised to expect up to 60-minute delays with each opening. For planned construction, motorists can expect to be notified well in advance, generally months and sometimes even years.

When it comes to weather, the winds are watched closely, and automated systems are used to inform WSDOT workers when speeds are climbing. When they reach or exceed 40 miles per hour for 15 minutes or more, the crews consider closing the bridge to traffic, and opening up the drawspan. The decision may also involve wind directions, strong tides, whether or not wind and waves are affecting drivers and other factors. In this case of course, there may not be much time for advanced notice, although you can be assured that the decision to close is not taken lightly – at the same time public safety has to come first, as WSDOT points out. Crews can see real-time wind speed, peak gusts and wind direction, and conditions are monitored closely from the control tower.

Closures due to Submarines/Military

There are no advanced alerts for submarines and their support vessels for security reasons, and you may notice that WSDOT does not show them passing through the Hood Canal Bridge due to Homeland Security measures put into place following the 9/11 attacks. Be aware that these types of vessels take longer, requiring both sides of the bridge to be retracted. Smaller escort vessels pass through first followed by the submarine, as soon as all of them have crossed through, the operator begins the closure of the drawspans. The two 300-feet floating spans are massive, and take time to get moving, and then slow down again until they’re locked together. The entire process of opening and then shutting the drawspans, ensuring they are engaged and locked, can take a while, typically about an hour, but once they’re back in place, the bridge is then opened up again to vehicle traffic.

Bridge closures vs continuous traffic backups

When comparing the few bridge closures every year to the traffic backups in the congested Seattle area, you’ll quickly realize that the real nightmare isn’t when the Hood Canal Bridge closes at all. Based on TomTom’s historical database for 2016, traffic in Seattle ranked as the second worst in the nation for evening congestion and tied for fourth-worst for overall congestion levels, behind only Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Traffic caused a 34% spike in extra travel time in 2016, up 3% from the year before. TomTom also noted that Seattle drivers who typically spend one hour driving each day are wasting 148 hours per year due to congestion.

Odds are, when you drive any of the freeways throughout the Seattle area and its suburbs, you’ll going to be traveling at a crawl. You won’t be stopped completely, like you would be when the Hood Canal Bridge closes, allowing you to get out and stretch your legs, read a book or at least do something productive while you’re waiting. No, you’ll have to keep your hands on the wheel, as you drive 5 miles-per-hour, wishing you were doing anything else but driving in traffic. Many of us who live in Port Ludlow have been there, done that, and avoid it as much as possible. We’re okay with those occasional bridge closures when we think about that.

What to do when you’re stopped

While no one enjoys feeling stuck, there are a number of ways to make that wait time more productive. Instead of looking at it as wasted time spent in a steel trap, think of it as time away from the stress of the outside world, in your own sanctuary. It can be a time for reflection, self-improvement and, perhaps even fun.

Read a book. If you were in slow-moving traffic, you’d be relegated to audio books, but because your vehicle isn’t going anywhere until the bridge opens up, you can read an actual book. In fact, you might want to keep one in your car for that specific purpose if you travel the bridge a lot. While there is unlikely to be enough closures that are lengthy enough to finish it, it may give you something to actually look forward to when it closures do happen.

Exercise. No, you can’t leave your vehicle and go for a hike, but you can get out and stretch your legs a bit as long as you’re nearby. There are also a number of exercises you can do, even in the relatively confined space of your vehicle. Strengthen your core by placing your hands against the roof, pushing up with your arms and squeezing your abs at the same time. Hold that pose for 10 seconds and release. Repeat as many times as you can. That action strengthens your arms, shoulders, back and core all at once. Strengthen your arms by holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2, and then pushing down on it for a few seconds; release and repeat.

You can get some good stretches in too. Stretch your neck by tilting your head to one side and holding it there for about 10 seconds. Do the same thing with the other side, as well as tilting it forwards and back. Stretch your back by holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2, and rounding your spine forward. Hold that position for about 15 seconds. The seated twist is a great yoga pose you can do right in the driver’s seat. Stay there with your feet firmly planted on the car floor, with your arms resting at your side. Peel your back away from the seat, inhale and allow the crown of your head to reach toward the ceiling without lifting your chin. Exhale and draw your belly in, twisting to the right while placing your left hand on the arm rest at your right. Repeat on the other side.

Deep breathing. Deep breathing is easy to do in your vehicle too. It helps relieve stress and provides other benefits too, such as helping you feel calmer, less anxious, lowering blood pressure and even relieving pain. It begins with exhaling, to empty your lungs completely so that you can fully inhale. First exhale slowly through your nose while counting to five. At the end of the breath, pause for two counts and then slowly inhale while counting to five, expanding your belly as your breathe in. Repeat 10 times. Focusing on your counting helps prevent the mind from wandering, keeping you in the moment.

Make those calls you’ve been putting off. While you can’t use your cell phone while you’re driving, you can use it while you’re stopped. So, now is your chance to catch up with friends and family, outside of text messages and emails. That can take up a good chunk of time, not to mention being good for your mental health, offering the chance to vent, get advice or just chat about the weather. If you need to make appointments or call the cable company to ask a question about your bill, you can do that too. By the time you’re done, you may have accomplished quite a bit you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Learn all the words to one of your favorite songs. You probably have at least one song you really like, but only know maybe one or two of the lines. This is your chance to play it over and over until you know all the lines. Sing it loudly – it’s a great way to relieve stress and pass the time.

Do some cleanup. Keep a garbage bag in the car with you, and you can use the time to clean out the car, your purse, or your wallet. You can finally get rid of all of those old useless receipts, business cards, scraps of paper and what have you. Look under your seats, who knows what’s under there after all this time – you might even discover some useful items, or even better, some cash.