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.