Historic Fleet

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Northwest Seaport’s floating fleet of National Historic Landmark vessels represent national, regional and local maritime stories.

Re-launching of Swiftsure and Media

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” is the oldest lightship in the country and the only one to have her original steam engine.  A lightship acts as a lighthouse and is used locations unsuitable for lighthouse construction.  The 129-foot ship is a National Historic Landmark and is on the Washington State Heritage Register.  The Lightship No. 83 has made its home in many ports, and has had many names — first “Blunts Reef,” then “San Francisco,” then “Relief,” and finally “Swiftsure,” in the tradition of assuming the name of the nearest lightship station. Today, Northwest Seaport is in the process of a restoration project that includes replacing the wooden deck and restoring the electrical system. The Lightship is open for public viewing from wharf 24 hours per day.
Length: 129 feet, Beam: 28 feet 6 inches, Draft: 12 feet 6 inches
Date Launched: 1904, Location: Camden, New Jersey

Tugboat ARTHUR FOSS: Built in 1889 as the Wallowa to tow sailing ships across the Columbia Bar and into the Columbia River, she also towed ships and barges to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and came to Puget Sound as a logging tugboat. As a Foss Launch & Tug Company tugboat, Arthur Foss gained distinction as the star of the 1934 MGM movie “Tugboat Annie,” as one of the most powerful tugboats on the West Coast, and the last vessel to escape Wake Island before the Japanese invasion in WWII. Now, Arthur Foss continues her career as a heritage vessel and museum ship open to the public.
Length: 112 feet, Beam: 24 feet 6 inches, Draft: 15 feet
Date Launched: 1889, Location: Portland, Oregon

Fishing Troller TWILIGHT was built at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle by H.C. Hansen and was active fishing for the Christiansen family until the 1980’s.  Northwest Seaport acquired Twilight in 2000 and has hosted workshops and education programs aboard.  Trollers are hook and line vessels that fish off the coast from California to Alaska catching a relatively low volume of high-quality fish.
Length: 36 feet, Beam: 10 feet 6 inches, Draft: 5 feet 6 inches
Date Launched: 1933, Location: Seattle, Washington

Information and collections regarding vessels once owned by Northwest Seaport, such as the schooner Wawona, are available under heading Collections.