Governor Inslee’s top priority is to create an economic climate where innovation and entrepreneurship can continue to thrive and create well-paying jobs in every corner of our state. Washington State’s Maritime sector comprises a robust and growing set of industries that contribute to achieving the Governor’s priority goal.

How do we define Washington's Maritime sector

Washington’s maritime industry is rooted in the historic strength of our natural resources, our strategic location and excellent transportation connections that provide efficient access to global markets. It is a diverse industry that includes:

  • Cargo handling and logistics—supported by 75 port districts in the state
  • Commercial fishing and seafood processing
  • Ship and boat building, repair and maintenance
  • Passenger vessel operations
  • Recreational boating and sport fishing
  • Military and federal activities through the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA
  • Numerous support industries, including marine technology companies and a solid base of maritime education and training programs

Although maritime activity has long been a pillar of the state’s economy, it continues to grow (an average of 6.4% a year), utilizes the latest technologies, includes leading global companies, and today provides jobs with substantially better pay than the average for all industries. The average pay for a job in Washington is $52,000, while maritime workers are paid an average of $70,800 — totaling over $4.7 billion in wages.

Sector impacts on Washington's economy

The sector contributes more than $21.4 billion in gross business income, and directly employs nearly 69,500 people. Including indirect and induced impacts, the sector is responsible for 146,000 jobs in the state and $30 billion in economic activity.

What's next for Washington's Maritime Industry

Top Items to Focus On:

Work with industry stakeholders, and within government, to:

  • Set the course for sustainable maritime industry innovation. The Washington Maritime BLUE 2050 is a strategy to ensure Washington state is home of the most sustainable maritime industry by 2050, aligned with Governor Inslee’s plans for deep de-carbonization, innovation and workforce development. Learn more.
  • Market and communicate the importance of the sector to the state’s economy
  • Promote policies and actions that sustain the current health of the industry and set a strong base for future growth, including addressing permitting issues that can be a disincentive to investment in marine businesses
  • Work with industry and existing training and education resources to address gaps in the system and develop a clear career pathway to jobs in the sector
  • Support policies and legislation that promote maritime economic development, such as recapitalization of the North Pacific fishing fleet

Are you interested in business opportunities Washington’s Maritime sector?  Visit to learn more about the sector.

Joshua Berger

Before joining the Department of Commerce in 2015 as the Director of Economic Development for the Maritime sector, Joshua served as Coordinator of the Washington Maritime Federation and brings extensive maritime industry experience to his position. During his career, he has developed a successful record of leadership in a number of positions including: Maritime Sector Business Development Manager for the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County; Program Director and Marine Operations Manager at The Evergreen State College; and E3 Regional and Network Coordinator for the Environmental Education Association of Washington. Joshua is also a professional Merchant Mariner having worked in the towing industry and spent six years as captain, sail trainer and environmental educator with Sound Experience, aboard the schooner Adventuress.

Key Sectors


Communication and Coordination

Despite the diversity of the sector, many issues are important to all segments of the industry. Improved transportation infrastructure, regulatory balance and workforce education and training are good examples. We will work with stakeholders to create coalitions like the Washington Maritime Federation to promote these improvements and to raise awareness of the importance of maritime activity to our economy.

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Need help?

Joshua Berger Maritime Sector Lead Phone: 206-256-6104

Washington's Maritime Blue Strategy

Executive Summary
Full Report
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C

Learn more at