Harbor Director Bruce Marshall said one of the Harbor Patrol volunteers created the GoFundMe campaign. A port spokeswoman said the port learned about it Wednesday.
A social-media campaign to raise money for the Port of Olympia’s Harbor Patrol, an all-volunteer service that patrols the waters of Budd Inlet, was a mistake and has since been shut down, port officials said Thursday.
Harbor Director Bruce Marshall said one of the Harbor Patrol volunteers created the GoFundMe campaign. Port spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said the port learned about it on Wednesday.
Marshall called it a “misunderstanding” and the volunteer was asked to take it down, he said.
Before it was removed, the fundraising campaign sought to raise $2,500 but had raised only $59 after six days, mostly from anonymous donors.
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The campaign, called “Olympia Harbor Patrol,” explained the history of the maritime service and the duties of its 30 volunteers. It also said the Harbor Patrol was in need of financial help.
“They operate on a shoestring budget, and that shoestring is getting pretty frayed,” the campaign read. “The operating funds (fuel, etc.) are generously covered by the Port of Olympia. Unfortunately, earlier this year they had to replace the old, tired and worn-out engine and drive train on the boat.”
Marshall said the engine and drive train needed to be replaced, but after the port applied for a grant from the state Department of Ecology and the Nisqually Tribe, it raised $70,000 to cover most of those costs. The difference was made up by the port, Marshall said.
Annual Harbor Patrol operating costs, which also are covered by the port, amount to about $20,000, he said. The port generates revenue from its various business divisions, including the marine terminal, but also levies a Thurston County property tax.
The Harbor Patrol boat and its volunteers are on call 24 hours a day. The boat regularly patrols Budd Inlet on Saturdays and Sundays, but service is expanded to Fridays when boating season picks up in spring and summer, Marshall said.
The Harbor Patrol was once funded by the city of Olympia and used by Olympia police. Because of a lack of reliable funding, the Harbor Patrol was set to cease in 2015 when the port stepped up to help with funding.