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Swiftsure in Drydock (c) Jeff Caven and Northwest Seaport

Swiftsure in Drydock (re-launched Aug 21, 2013) (c) Jeff Caven

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Foss family reunion highlighted in Aug 2013 FOSS Maritime Tow Bitts.

Foss family reunion aboard tug highlighted in Aug 2013 FOSS Maritime Tow Bitts.

Press Archive

Seattle Times Front Page July 11 2013Reprinted from Sea History 145 with permission of the National Maritime Historical SocietyMedia

Read this NWS release which sparked up lighthouse aficionados and more. 7/1/2011 Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” Sparks Up! The Swiftsure At 10 pm on the evening of July 1, 2011 Shannon Fitzgerald, president of Northwest Seaport, flipped a switch that lit the beacon of the “Swiftsure” Lightship that is permanently moored at Lake Union Park in Seattle. It had been over 50 years since the navigation light guided mariners and their ships to ports at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and other lightship stations along the Pacific Coast. The completing of the circuit finished the first phase of the restoration of the Lightship No. 83, aka. “Swiftsure.” Recent successes include purchasing the wood for a new upper deck, re-electrifying the beacon and other systems, stabilizing the smoke stack and masts, adding new bilge pumps, and installing alarms systems. This work was made possible through Federal Transportation Enhancement Act funds made available to NWS through the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and matched with funds from 4Culture, the Washington Heritage Capital Projects Fund, and the Lighthouse Environmental Program’s License Plate Grant Program (those cool specialty plates with the lighthouse on them). The lightship stabilization work was accomplished by the Old Tacoma Marine and Lake Union Dry Dock companies. Long before radar, LORAN, and GPS technology guided navigators, lightships marked offshore shipping hazards and entrances to major ports. They were the last known points as you were bound offshore, and the first signs that you were coming home. The LV No. 83 was built in 1904 and served along the West Coast for over 50 years and literally saved lives and weathered some of the severest storms. She served off Cape Mendocino, San Francisco, and at the three northern lightship stations when she was the “Relief” for Coast Guard District 13 based in Seattle. As ocean buoys and electronic navigation were put into place, lightships were retired in the 1960s and 1970s. The “Swiftsure” is the only lightship that has her original steam engine and is the best example of a second-generation lightship characterized by her wooden decks and houses built upon the lapstrake, riveted steel plates of her hull. Because of these characteristics, she is a unique treasure designated as a National Historic Landmark.