Squalicum Yacht Club Turns 75: Cruising the San Juans since 1937

The venerable Squalicum Yacht Club, a fixture in the boating community of the northern Puget Sound region turns 75 this month.

The club was formed on September 29th, 1937 as the Bellingham Boater’s Association (BBOA), organized to help create safe moorage in Bellingham Bay. Eventually a large part of a new moorage facility in Fairhaven was leased to the BBOA to operate. 

In January 1947 a sudden nor’wester blew in with gale force wind, wrecking havoc and destroying most of the floats and numerous boats.  As a result, Squalicum Harbor was built in 1949.

When the club was granted a site at the port in November 1949, a surplus World War II Army Air Corps barracks was purchased, moved there, and the first meeting in it was held on December 14, 1949.  Remodeled extensively over the years, it is still in use by the club.

In the mid-sixties, the BBOA was rechristened the Squalicum Yacht Club.  Although the name changed, the character of the club did not.  Belying the Yacht Club stereotype, potluck dinners, charity events, educational speakers, and family cruises were among its frequent activities and remain so to this day.

Over the years Squalicum Yacht Club has contributed much to the northwest boating community.  It has participated for more than 20 years in the Adopt-a-Parks program with work parties at various state marine parks in the San Juan Islands.  In 1960 the club joined other boating clubs to purchase Sucia Island for use as a state marine park.

The Club also participates in numerous community events.  Along with the Corinthian Yacht Club, it sponsors a cruise for Big Brothers/Big Sisters each year.  The proceeds of the club’s annual Opening Day breakfast go to a local charity.  This year’s recipient was Home Port Alternative High School.  The organization, along with Boat US, also co-sponsors a life jacket

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