Boat trash or treasure: find it at the Fisheries swap meet Saturday

Does your garage look like this? Hawk your unwanted boating gear at the Fisheries swap meet this Saturday.

Bust out the headlamps and elbow pads: Fisheries Supply‘s Spring Swap Meet is this Saturday.

If you’ve ever been to the event, held in the parking lot off the Seattle store, you’ll know it’s the maritime equivalent of a Barneys warehouse sale — just swap the fashionistas feverishly clawing their way toward racks of designer duds with boaters bent on scoring discounted booty.

The event officially starts at around 7 a.m. but the most serious bargain-hunters arrive hours earlier, wearing headlamps and carrying flashlights to spot the deals. Some savvy sellers even get there the night before and sleep in their vehicles so they’re ready when the hordes arrive.

“Most people show up at like 3:30 in the morning. I’ve gotten there before at 4:00 and gotten one of the last spots,” said Stacey Hoopes, Fisheries’ marketing manager. “It’s crazy.”

Sellers can arrive pretty much anytime starting Friday night and can set up shop in the lower parking lot facing N. Northlake Way, near Gasworks Park, or in the upper level of the parking lot above the store’s entrance on N. 34th Street. Sellers are not permitted to use the lower tier of the upper parking lot closest to the store entrance.

The store will open at 7 a.m. and have a variety of items for sale in its warehouse. Hoopes said sale items are likely to include pumps, safety gear, chain and hose remnants, clothing and filtration parts.

Since this may be one of the only swap meets that typically wraps up by around 9 a.m., the warehouse may close as early as 11 a.m., though the store will remain open until its usual 6 p.m. Saturday closing time.

The biannual event is held in April and September, with the fall swamp meet typically scheduled in conjunction with the Lake Union Boats Afloat Show. Started about 25 years ago, the meet draws people from all over Washington state, and Hoopes said she usually starts getting calls about two or three months in advance from people as far away as Idaho and Oregon.

Shoppers can expect to find a grab bag of boating items for sale, anything from heads to heaters, shackles to sails. There might be dinghies, outboards, clocks and barometers. You could find tools, galley items, ropes and engine parts. No item is too small — Hoopes even sold a half-full bottle of oil once, to her surprise.

“I would say bring everything you want to get rid of,” she said. “And then if you don’t sell it, take it to the dump.”

And that’s easy enough: there’s a transfer station located just four blocks west of Fisheries at 1350 N. 34th St.

8 Responses to Boat trash or treasure: find it at the Fisheries swap meet Saturday

  1. David Huchthausen April 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    The Classic Yacht Association swap meet, social hour, and live auction will also take place this Saturday, April 14th at the Ballard Auction Company, 837 NW 49th St., Ballard. The swap meet will open be to the public from 1:00 – 5:00 PM. We will then take a one-hour break for a social hour with hearty potluck hors d’oeuvres and wine. The live auction will start promptly at 6:00PM and will include nautical items, cruises aboard Classic Yachts, haul-outs and much more!! Please consider joining us after you leave the Fisheries Swap Meet, we’re just over the Freemont Bridge, not far away. Call 206.409.1303 for info.

    • Deborah Bach April 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Sounds like a fun event, David. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Richard April 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm #


    I’m new to the area and have never heard of this swap-meet before. I have some things I’d like to bring to the event to sell. What do I need to do or who should I contact in order to do that? Thanks!

    • Deborah Bach April 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Hi Richard,

      You don’t need to contact anyone or make prior arrangements. You can just show up with the items you want to sell. But you’ll want to get there early – we’ve sold items there in the past and arrived about 5 a.m. to find almost all of the spots taken. Some sellers get there the night before and sleep in their cars. And buyers really do arrive while it’s still dark. The whole thing’s over by around 9 or 10 a.m.

      • Richard April 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm #


        Thank you! I appreciate it!

  3. Deborah Bach April 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Nope, I meant biannual. From Merriam-Webster:

    adj \(ˌ)bī-ˈan-yə(-wə)l\

    Definition of BIANNUAL
    1: occurring twice a year

    2: biennial 1

  4. Lynn April 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    “The bi-annual event is held in April and September,”

    You mean SEMI-annual. BI-annual means every two years.

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