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Keep Washington Shining

Keep Washington Shining banner

February 18, 2014, Contact: Nan Devlin, nan@devlinendean.comDevlin Endean Marketing Group

Keep Washington Shining campaign spotlights lighthouse funding, encourages drivers to choose a Washington Lighthouse license plate. 

Since 2009, license plates have funded $125,000 in restoration projects; more support needed to help preserve 13 nonprofit lighthouses open to public

Coupeville, Wash. Feb. 18, 2014 – Lighthouse Environmental Programs (LEP), a Whidbey Island based non-profit organization announced today the launch of the Keep Washington Shining campaign to encourage drivers to choose a Washington Lighthouse specialty license plate for their car, motorcycle, trailer or RV. The campaign is designed to make drivers aware of the direct impact they have on ensuring Washington’s coastal treasures for generations to Continue reading

Engineer for a Day Program Success

Engineer for a Day Dec 13 2013 BMA Students aboard Arthur Foss“We actually worked on the engine and gained more background info and a better understanding of diesel engines.” (BMA Student)

Ballard Maritime Academy students got down to work last Friday, December 13th aboard the Seaport’s fleet of National Historic Landmark vessels.  Seaport instructors turned the tug Arthur Foss and lightship No.83 “Swiftsure” into floating classrooms and engaged these high school students in the processes of starting a 700hp marine diesel engine and in discussions regarding the possibilities of restoring the 1904 steam engine deep inside Swiftsure’s hull.

Engineer for a Day Dec 13 2013 BMA Students aboard tug

At 0845 sleepy-eyed students rolled out of their parked cars and boarded both vessels at Historic Ships Wharf in two different groups to create smaller instructional groupings for higher impact and hands-on opportunities.  Chief Engineer of Arthur Foss, Steven Baker, immediately set the students to preparing the tug’s Washington Iron Works engine for start-up.

Engineer for a Day Dec 13 2013 BMA Students starting tug

“I love the Swiftsure and Arthur Foss. I would like to spend more time on them.” (BMA Student)

With guidance, students oiled and greased the engine’s valve train, pumps, shaft bearings and camshaft.  They checked various tanks and gauges while peppering Steven with questions regarding one aspect of the engine or another.  During the program, students also taught one another repetitive tasks as they passed the oil can, for example, ensuring their friends learned the task at hand.

Finally, engine start-up!  Dazzled, most students could not help but smile from ear-to-ear, as the six Continue reading

Greet the Season and Lighting of the Lightship

GTS-Poster cropped Ships ActivitiesJoin the partners of Lake Union Park for a one-of-a-kind family-oriented holiday event! Greet the Season at Lake Union Park features activities for all ages, including OPEN SHIPS of Northwest Seaport:

Swiftsure and Arthur Foss are open from 12:00 – 5:00pm.

Lightship No. 83 "Swiftsure" is stage and venue for Lighting of the Lightship.

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” is stage and venue for Lighting of the Lightship.

At 5:00pm, join us aboard Swiftsure for Lighting of the Lightship, where Northwest Seaport illuminates hundreds of feet of lights decorating the historic lightship No. 83.  Plan to board Swiftsure for a simple ceremony to welcome in the holidays.

This event would not be possible without the generous support from Vulcan Inc., a member of the South Lake Union business community.

Vulcan IncGreet the Season event opens at 10am and there are activities throughout the day and into the evening – activities and performances are staggered, so please check the schedule if there is something you don’t want to miss.

New this year: Board the Swiftsure during specialty tours.  The historic 1904 vessel was recently opened to the public for the first Continue reading

Tugboat Pumpkin Patch, Oct 25 & 26

Tugboat Pumpkin Patch posterROn October 25 & 26 hundreds visited the Historic Ships Wharf for some Halloween Fun!

Families carving at Tugboat Pumpkin Patch Oct 2013They found the perfect gourd for sea-themed jack-o’-lantern in the Northwest Seaport’s floating pumpkin patch!   Little ghosts and goblins set sail for the haunted Historic Ships Wharf at South Lake Union, where spooky fall fun was found for whole family!

PUMPKIN SHIP is being loaded by owner John Tibbs and Northwest Seaport volunteer George Strausser

PUMPKIN SHIP is being loaded by owner John Tibbs and Northwest Seaport volunteer George Strausser

PUMPKIN SHIP completed loading 300+ pumpkins at Kirkland City dock and voyaged to Lake Union Park’s Historic Ships Wharf Friday afternoon.  PUMPKIN SHIP’s real life is that of F/V MOHAP.  It is a 1938 35’X10’X4′ restored salmon/tuna wood double ender troller built in Lake Union, Seattle.  It is owned by John and Brad Tibbs.  Kirkland community members and employees from Alaska Structures joined the loading activities at Kirkland’s wharf (thank you!)

King5 News dot comKirkland Reporter logoA visit from KING5 News and Kirkland Reporter also made loading fun.

Hash House Harriers make Tugboat Pumpkin Patch visitPumpkins were available to purchase to paint or carve and many sipped hot cider aboard the historic 1889 tugboat Arthur Foss as they explored the spooky ship and it’s pumpkin patch.  Maritime themed templates were available to help carve the perfect sea-worthy squash.  Folks of all ages arrived in all types of costumes.

Eric Hawley Giant Pumpkin Mermaid Oct 26 2013On Saturday, folks watched a giant pumpkin be transformed into a mermaid by carver Eric Hawley.  He’s is a master sand sculptor and elevator mechanic by trade!  Shane Briggs grew this 643 pound pumpkin which was featured at the 2013 Central Market weigh-in and placed 8th at the Scholz Pumpkin Palace weigh-in.  (Some of us sailors were once 4-H’ers)


Remlinger FarmsRemlinger Farms is donating 300 pumpkins to support the event.  As their website shares, their Famous Fall Harvest Pumpkin Festival has begun!  Visit them this October. View The Seattle Times photo gallery of pumpkin pickin’ at Remlinger Farms.  Thank you Diane and Will!

Jordan River Moving and StorageJordan River Moving & Storage is donating ground transportation of the pumpkins.  Jordan River bases its business mission on uncompromising customer service. Seattle Movers are experienced local and long distance movers equipped to handle complete home and office moves (and pumpkins!).  Thank you Sharon, Kobi and Sheena!

PNGPGPacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers and grower Shane Briggs  donated a giant pumpkin!   Thank you Shane and members of PNGPG for supporting this event.

Proceeds from this event will help support Northwest Seaport’s youth education programs. Thank you for your consideration and support. We hope to see you aboard!

Seaport Volunteers Voyage aboard Tug GALENE

Tug GALENE Crew on Tug Training (c) Robert GrenierWhat’s one requirement before Northwest Seaport is able to unleash ARTHUR FOSS from the Historic Ships Wharf and give her freedom to return to regional ports?  A trained tugboat crew will help.   Well, tugboat crew training began this past Labor Day.

On the heels of Olympia Harbor Days and the vintage tugboat races, Skip and Marty Suttmeier of the Miki class tug GALENE (1943) kindly offered five Seaport volunteers an exciting opportunity to crew aboard the GALENE on her transit from Tacoma to Seattle.  The following text includes reflections of this experience by the volunteers:

Tacoma Horizon from GALENE Bow (c) Jean HaymanThis Labor Day I (Jen) was lucky enough to be part of a short voyage on the historic tugboat, GALENE. The journey began in Tacoma, through Puget Sound, and safely through the Ballard Locks to north Lake Union in Seattle, thanks to the capable hands of her crew. It was a breathtaking journey and valuable learning experience, accompanied by stories from Stan Wood, a WW2 vet, who sailed the tug in its prime (1940s) and regaled us all of tales from both his and her yesteryears.   Seldom are fans of nautical history and lore lucky enough to take part in such a journey onboard such a vessel, proving the notion that it is not the size that counts, but how you use it… GALENE was truly an enormous experience! 

Stan Wood aboard GALENE(Note:  Stan Wood turned 90 during the Olympia festival and flew from Maine on the invitation of the Suttmeiers to join the crew.  Read more coverage from Olympia through the eyes of the Retired Tugboat Association (RTA): )

For myself (Steve), it was a first lesson in the rudiments of the tasks of a deck hand on a large boat. For all of us, it was a close up look at the hard work, creativity, and affection lavished on this grand old vessel by her owners and those who assist them.  To perfectly round out the day, Mr. Wood was aboard and his reminiscences made it an historic occasion. Many thanks to Skip and Marty Suttmeier for the opportunity.

(Note: GALENE won the 2013 tugboat race and welcomed nearly 2,000 visitors on Saturday alone…see the checkered flag.  Both Skip and Marty

GALENE in Ballard Locks

recognize the community value of sharing their special vessel and warmly engaging each person boarding.  Read about GALENE on the RTA vessel roster: )

The whole experience of voyaging on the tug GALENEwas one of the highlights of my year so far, for it made me (Saxon) think of how great it would be to be underway on ARTHUR FOSS. Much work is needed before this could happen, but it was informative to see a volunteer crew handling a similar-sized tug in a well-organized manner. Similar procedures would be needed for ARTHUR FOSS.  I think, Northwest Seaport should begin a massive campaign for the tug’s restoration to true cruising order if a voyage is to happen in the near future.  It would be quite a feat and an amazing trip!

Skip the Skipper Providing InstructionThe privately-owned WWII wooden tug is in great condition and it was truly a privilege and an amazing experience to sail aboard it. The special moments of the trip for me were touring the working engine room and bridge especially, as well as our trip through the Ballard Locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal to GALENE’s dock on Lake Union.

Northwest Seaport deeply appreciates the kindness, openness and training provided during this grand day.  We’re already seeking future opportunities aboard other vessels, such as those participating in the Classic Workboat Show on October 5, 2013.

Classic Workboat ShowWish to volunteer?  Read more & Complete online form.  Join tomorrow’s tugboat work party.

Wish to donate to get ARTHUR FOSS underway?  Donate to the 2013 campaign.

See you for October 5th!

Photographers NWS, Elizabeth Blake, Robert Grenier and Jean Hayman (Cheers!).

Re-launch Today 10:00 a.m.

Swiftsure Ready for Relaunch (c) Jeff Caven

Re-launch Today at 10:00 a.m.

Lightship No. 83 "Swiftsure" re-launched Aug. 21 2013 in Lake Union.  Restoration continues at Historic Ships Wharf.

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” re-launched Aug. 21 2013 in Lake Union. Restoration continues at Historic Ships Wharf.

UPDATE: Swiftsure was relaunched on August 21 with much support and media attention.

This morning’s re-launch of Swiftsure from Lake Union Drydock Company marks a dramatic step forward in her bright future.

Please join us on Lake Union and on its shores as Ron Frye, LUDC Dock Master (and Northwest Seaport Member) re-launches Swiftsure.

Other plans? Stay tuned on the Northwest Seaport Facebook page for updates.

Over the past 90 days, ship yard crews completed necessary work to ensure her stability for decades to come.  However, this vital work came at a high price; for example, emptying the fuel tanks and patching the steel hull plating sent the project over $80,000 over budget.

Deck project with public safely viewing volunteers and shipwrights.

Deck project with public safely viewing volunteers and shipwrights.

Northwest Seaport will begin a Swiftsure fundraising campaign which will eliminate this debt and restore the ship into a publicly accessible education platform.  Join us in this journey.



Ready, Set, Re-launch!

Lightship No. 83 "Swiftsure" re-launched Aug. 21 2013 in Lake Union.  Restoration continues at Historic Ships Wharf.

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” re-launched Aug. 21 2013 in Lake Union. Restoration continues at Historic Ships Wharf.


Swiftsure re-launched on Aug 21, 2013. Vessel returned to Historic Ships Wharf for all to view.

View re-launching pics/story via Facebook.

Swiftsure Receives New Beacon Light, Red Paint and Lettering Prior to Re-launching

Lightship No. 83 "Swiftsure" in drydock at LUDC. (c) Jeff Caven & Northwest Seaport

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” in drydock at LUDC. (c) Jeff Caven & Northwest Seaport

Northwest Seaport’s Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” will be re-launched this week after three months of major restoration work at Lake Union Drydock Company (LUDC). This yard period has seen its fair share of excitement, drama and surprises from the past.

Lightship No. 83 was built in Camden, New Jersey in 1904 and served on all five West Coast lightship stations. It was retired from active service in 1960 and became a museum ship under care of Save Our Ships in 1966.

Swiftsure is nearing the completion of Phase II of Northwest Seaport’s Lightship Rehabilitation Project, a multi-year, $1million project to replace the deck, rigging, remove hazardous materials, and restore the Swiftsure’s primary electrical systems. When finished, the ship will be re-opened to the public at Lake Union Park.

Swiftsure Weather Deck with deck, radio house and wheelhouse removed (c) Jeff Caven & Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure Weather Deck with deck, radio house and wheelhouse removed (c) Jeff Caven & Northwest Seaport

Over the past 90 days ship yard crews removed deteriorated wheelhouse, radio house and wooden weather deck. Deck beams were cleaned, primed and painted—ready to receive a new wooden deck. Below the waterline, hull was cleaned, inspected, patched and reinforced to ensure it will last decades to come. Entire hull was also painted with the Coast Guard Red paint.

One of the exciting discoveries occurred while removing the 1937 deck planking was sections of original 1904 planking still in place. Northwest Seaport’s Nautical Archaeologist-in-Residence, Saxon Bisbee, said, “We discovered 100-year old pitch and oakum still in just a few seams. This is a direct link back to Camden shipwrights.“

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

While pressure washing the hull, it was found that most of the 109-year old hull was in good shape, but crevice corrosion had made several small holes in hull plating. One hole was directly under a fuel tank still containing some fuel oil in it. “Fortunately, it happened exactly where it should—in drydock, where LUDC’s emergency procedures were implemented immediately” Northwest Seaport President, Shannon Fitzgerald, said.

Emptying the tanks and patching the steel hull plating sent the project over $80,000 over budget.

Swiftsure CARNEGIE Steel (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure CARNEGIE Steel (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Inside the ship, a century of layered paint was removed from the steel deck beams, revealing the word “CARNEGIE” molded on each one. Northwest Seaport Nautical Archaeologist and Vessel Manager, Nathaniel Howe points to one saying “The mark of the Carnegie Steel Company really illustrates that this ship is truly a product of early industrial America—still here, still floating.”

“That the vessel has survived over 100 years is a tribute to the men who built her, said Hobie Stebbins III of LUDC.

Swiftsure Lettering by Dick Oshiro web (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure Lettering by Dick Oshiro web (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

The final days in drydock include replacing the lightship’s beacon light, painting on the white station lettering “SWIFTSURE,” and re-launching her into Lake Union where she will show off her gleaming red paint job. Tugs will return her back to the Historic Ships Wharf.

On Lightship No. 83 a shipyard crane is required to change one light bulb—the beacon light atop the high mast. This will be the crowning touch before the ship leaves the shipyard.

Otto Loggers, Executive Director of Northwest Seaport said, “Relighting the lightship will be an inspiring symbol for our community, and we’re blessed to have this life-saving National Historic Landmark in Seattle. We need to work together to ensure Swiftsure becomes the rich cultural resource we envision for her.”

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

A skilled master sign painter will paint the 6-foot tall white letters of SWIFTSURE on the ship’s sides in accordance with traditional Coast Guard specifications. Swiftsure is not the ship’s name, but rather the name of the nearest lightship station. The Swiftsure Bank is a shallow area located west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, marking the approaches to Puget Sound and Seattle.

Loggers said, “The re-launching of Swiftsure, the Beacon of Lake Union, also marks a re-launching of her history and bright future. Onlookers are encouraged to gather at Lake Union Park or in a boat.” Keep tuned to Northwest Seaport’s website and Facebook page for scheduling updates.
Share Northwest Seaport’s Facebook posts:

While at the Historic Ships Wharf, Swiftsure is hard to miss. Its new bright red hull, tall smoke stack, and brilliant beacon light grab the eye and spark the imagination. It is a quintessential steamship covered with big rivets, ventilation cowls, elegant woodwork, and literally all the ‘bells and whistles’ of the steam era.

The future re-opening Lightship No. 83 to visitors will launch the re-telling of life aboard a lightship and the hardship and danger faced in that service by the almost mythic characters who worked on these manned navigation markers—mariners who were a blend of lighthouse keeper, lifeguard, and steamship captain.

Click to view e-launching Schedule

Northwest Seaport

Special thank you to Jeff Caven for supporting Northwest Seaport with such fabulous photos.  Visit Jeff’s website:



Lightship No 83 SwiftsureNorthwest Seaport is pleased to announce that 4Culture’s Board of Directors recently approved 2013 Landmarks Capital program funding to support the preservation of Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure.”

This National Historic Landmark vessel is significant to the region and adds diversity to this year’s pool.  the application organization has a long-term vision for the ship, and is demonstrating careful stewardship.  Great public benefit will be provided by an innovative public viewing program during the deck replacement work.  Full funding is recommended at $30,000.”

Conceptual Drawing Nathaniel Howe

Conceptual Drawing Deck Replacement Project, Nathaniel Howe

In the Pacific Northwest, the preservation of historic structures has to start at the top with a good roof. Rainwater intrusion is the most pervasive agent of deterioration in the region. Northwest Seaport is in the midst of a major project to put an entirely new and historically accurate upper deck on Lightship No. 83 to ensure its continued preservation. The existing rotten deck has been removed and support is requested from 4Culture to launch the installation of the new deck.

Lightship No. 83 is hard to miss. Its tall smoke stack, bright red hull, and brilliant beacon light grab the eye and spark the imagination. It is a quintessential steamship bearing the signature lights, foghorns, and six-foot white lettering of America’s steadfast lightships. Acting as floating lighthouses, lightships operated by the US Lighthouse Service and US Coast Guard guided thousands of ships around reefs and shoals into safe harbor channels from 1819 to 1983.

Deck RecordingAt 109 years old, Lightship No. 83 needs significant restoration. Northwest Seaport has already completed extensive work on the ship’s rigging, boilers, and electrical system during Phase I of the Lightship Rehabilitation Project. Phase II to replace the rotted wooden deck and deckhouses and stop rainwater intrusion is currently underway.

The existing deck was carefully mapped and documented in greater detail than required by HABS/HAER, more than 11,000 board-feet of top-grade Douglas fir lumber has been purchased and air dried, and Lightship No. 83 is in dry dock at a Seattle shipyard for removal of the old deck, wheelhouse, and radio house (both carefully measured and documented for precise replication at a local vocational school). The shipyard has conducted hazardous materials abatement and cleaning of the steel deck framing.

In the future, the project will be on display for the public to observe as shipwrights and their apprentices lay, fasten, and calk the new wooden deck using the traditional methods as advised by shipwrights, preservation specialists, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects (NPS 1990:26).  This seed-grant will build excitement and anticipation to being this project.

The re-decking of Lightship No. 83 will drastically improve the condition and long-term preservation of the ship, expand Northwest Seaport’s public programs, and provide a major point of public interest and activity at Lake Union Park. In the process, it will employ local maritime craftsmen hard-hit by the recession, train shipwrights for the next generation, and allow thousands of visitors to observe traditional maritime trades usually hidden from the public in commercial shipyards.

Swiftsure in LUDC drydock Aug 2013

Swiftsure in LUDC drydock Aug 2013

Support Northwest Seaport’s efforts in rehabilitating Lightship No. 83, “Swiftsure.”  Donate today.  Stay tuned for fund raising efforts to REPAINT, RESTORE and CREATE a new public space for learning, teaching and discovery.  Contact us with your ideas on how to use this future deck.

Northwest Seaport graciously thanks 4Culture leadership and representatives for their support of this National Historic Landmark and Northwest Seaport’s vision to revitalized this vessel for the public’s benefit.

4Culture’s Landmarks Capital program supports “bricks and mortar” projects that help preserve designated local landmarks all around King County. We fund design, materials, and labor for rehabilitation projects large and small. Eligible applicants include private owners, businesses, organizations and local governments. Fundable projects will range from $3,000 to $30,000. (4Culture)

NEWS:   7/11/2013 The Seattle Times, New Life on Lake Union for Brave Old Lightship Swiftsure