Portolan News

Keeping It Alive for the Next Generation: Year End Donation

Please, make an online donation today.

Please, make an online donation today.

Please enjoy reading Northwest Seaport’s Appeal 2013/2014 letter (pdf)

Learn about this past year’s activities, successes and continuing efforts to meet our mission and dedication to the preservation, education and interpretation of the maritime heritage of Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest.

Next, help us ensure Northwest Seaport’s 50th year anniversary in 2014 has the financial security to plan and staff youth programs for the next generation.  Your tax-free gift will be realized through the experience of these youngsters aboard our ships.

Please Donate Today

If you have already received the appeal letter and returned the donation card…

Thank You!

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

Vulcan Inc. Sponsors Lighting of the Lightship

Vulcan IncToday’s Lighting of the Lightship event would not be possible without the generous support from Vulcan Inc., a member of the South Lake Union business community and supporter of Northwest Seaport. Thank you, again!

Lighting of Lightship Beacon of Lake Union, Nov 30, 2013

Lighting of Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” (aka) Beacon of Lake Union Nov 30, 2013. Event sponsored by Vulcan Inc.

At 5:00 pm., Greet the Season attendees and South Lake Union community members gathered for an official Lighting of the Lightship 2013, the sunset tradition since 2012 when Vulcan Inc. began supporting this signature holiday event at Lake Union Park.

A short ceremony recognized lightship sailor’s contributions to the our nation through service with US Coast Guard.  Otto Loggers, Executive Director of Northwest Seaport, also shared that the Seaport will turn 50 years in 2014 and that tug Arthur Foss will also celebrate 125 years.

Northwest Seaport crew provide station-based tours under holiday lights and aboard Swiftsure's deck outfitted with catwalks.

Northwest Seaport crew provide station-based tours under holiday lights and aboard Swiftsure’s deck outfitted with catwalks.

After also recognizing the many volunteers (15+) which made today’s Open Ship education program possible and the evening’s event sponsor, Vulcan Inc., a hearty countdown ensued and finished with the crowd yelling: “Light That Lightship!” The Vessel Manager hit the switch to the hundreds of light bulbs and ship’s beacon and a rousing cheer and applause filled the Historic Ships Wharf and south end of Lake Union.

Visitors participating in the event streamed aboard the lightship which was opened only for the second time to the general public for 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!

Picture This: Classic Workboat Show 2013 Photos and Sponsors

Thank You to all the Show sponsors!  With their generous support, this event was a success!  Please join us NEXT YEAR on October 4, 2014 (“First Saturday in October”)  Also, please learn more about our sponsors listed below.

Silver Sponsor,  Jeff Caven of Marine Yacht Photography, captured many Show moments which will become iconic Northwest Seaport images for years to come.  Enjoy some of Jeff’s here…and some from Northwest Seaport during the coming days/weeks.  We’ll continue to add more to this post.  Have some you wish to share?  Email them to info (at) nwseaport.org .  Also, post them to Northwest Seaport Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestSeaport

NOTE: Images become Northwest Seaport property unless prior arrangements are made, such as with professional photographers.

Show is generously sponsored by the following:

Western Towboat Company logo

Pacific Fishermen Shipyard

Lake Union Drydock Company

Western Towboat Company,
Pacific Fishermen Shipyard,
Lake Union Drydock Company

Vulcan Inc   Port of Seattle   Vigor Industrial   WorkBoat   Global Diving and Salvage

Global Diving and Salvage,
Port of Seattle,
Vigor Industrial,
Vulcan Inc.

Silver48North,The Anchor ProgramAlaska Fisheries Science Center-NOAA,Buca di Beppo–Seattle,  Foss Maritime CompanyFremont Tugboat CompanyHavorn Marine ServiceLAZERQUICK PrintingLighthouse RoastersMarine Yacht Photography, Maritime Pacific Brewing CompanyMaxum PetroleumOcean Trawler Yachts, LLCProfessional MarinerWild Salmon Seafood Market

Classic Workboat Show 2013!

Classic Workboat Show 2013 LogoHistoric and Working Vessels Flood Lake Union Park! 

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” to open to public after one decade…maybe two!

Come aboard and explore working and historic tugboats, fishing boats and workboats. Enjoy an exciting family-oriented day with maritime and marine professionals, demonstrations, fun, food and drink. Visitors are welcome to board vessels, meet crew members, and feel the powerful vibrations of idling marine engines.

Family fun at Northwest Seaport's Classic Workboat Show 2013. The Ross Family is visiting from Oregon! By Jeff Caven

Family fun at Northwest Seaport’s Classic Workboat Show 2013. The Ross Family is visiting from Oregon. By Jeff Caven

Northwest Seaport's Classic Workboat Show Volunteers in the Arthur Foss galley, Jeff Craven

Northwest Seaport’s Classic Workboat Show Volunteers in the Arthur Foss galley, Jeff Caven

Northwest Seaport has also opened the 1904 National Historic Landmark vessel Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” for the first time in many years!  Lightship No. 83 is a heritage vessel and museum ship in the middle of an ongoing restoration project. In 1989 the vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.  Today, we are excited to open the ship to Classic Workboat Show visitors who will enter the ship at the weather deck.  Once aboard, they will see through exposed Carnegie steel deck beams to the hidden lower decks.  Northwest Seaport Nautical Archaeologist and Vessel Manager Nathaniel Howe will provide information on recent restoration efforts at Lake Union Dry Dock Company and plans for the soon to be installed new deck.


With smart phones in hand, visitors can contribute to the ongoing restoration efforts via Northwest Seaport’s online fundraising campaign for Lightship No. 83, akaSwiftsure.  Can’t make it? Consider donating from from the comfort of your own home today. Northwest Seaport relies on the generosity of people like you to stay afloat! 


Today’s Classic Workboat Show is an exciting gathering of local Northwest workboats joining the Seaport’s floating fleet at Lake Union Park.  Already, three tugboats (PATRON, HENRIETTA FOSS and Come aboard and explore working, historic tugboats, fishboats and workboats. Enjoy an exciting family-oriented day with maritime and marine professionals, demonstrations, and fun, food and drink. Visitors will be able to board select vessels, meet crew members, and feel the vibrations of idling marine engines during startups.


Maritime and marine programs for the public are conveniently timed throughout the day and include such learning and play opportunities, such as (detailed below)*:


Ship Surveying 101

Workboat Story Time (kids!)

Corking a Ship’s Deck (kids!)

Lightship Boarding (kids!)

Lightship Stamps for Lighthouse Passports (kids!)

Saving Classic Workboats

Marine Research at Sea (kids!) … and much more!


NEW! Northwest Seaport will also OPEN the National Historic Landmark vessel Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” for the first time in many years!  The lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” is a heritage vessel and museum ship, and in 1989 the vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.  On Saturday, Northwest Seaport is excited to open the ship to Classic Workboat Show visitors who will enter the ship at the weather deck.  Once aboard, they will see through exposed CARNEGIE steel deck beams to the lower decks.  Northwest Seaport Nautical Archaeologist and Vessel Manager, Nathaniel Howe, will provide information on recent restoration efforts at Lake Union Drydock Company and the redecking plans.


The Northwest Seaport Classic Workboat Show is generously sponsored by the following sponsors.

http://nwseaport.org/sponsors-build-excitement-for-classic-worboat-show/ (continuously updated)


Sponsors Build Excitement for CLASSIC WORKBOAT SHOW

Western Towboat CompanyRic Shrewsbury, co-owner of Western Towboat Company said, “Yes, I’ll support this event!” when he was one of the first telephoned regarding the Northwest Seaport Classic Workboat Show.  This show of ships bookends Seattle’s springtime Maritime Festival and will draw a couple thousand people to Lake Union Park and the Historic Ships Wharf.

Due to the extended shipyard period of Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure,” the Seaport’s sponsorship solicitation schedule is a bit behind schedule.  However, towboat, shipyard and maritime-based companies and organizations are positively responding to the call for action.

Pacific Fishermen Shipyard with NorthwesternWith just a few phone calls, two Platinum sponsors, Western Towboat Company and Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, jumped aboard to show their support.  Early Platinum sponsors have an option to bring a classic/modern workboat of their own to the show or sponsor a classic vessel.  The public will board many show vessels to learn about their purpose, business and professions.

Platinum sponsor, Lake Union Drydock Company joins the Classic Workboat Show line-up, showing their support for Northwest Seaport Lake Union Drydock Companyand historic vessel restoration projects, such as work conducted on Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” their Seattle shipyard on Lake Union.  Lake Union Drydock Co. contributed thousands of dollars of in-kind support plus other valuable considerations to Northwest Seaport, and we’re proud to list them as event sponsors at the highest level.

Fremont Tugboat CompanyGold sponsor Fremont Tugboat Company, which operates most of their tugs around Lake Union and Puget Sound and is known as the Mini-Tug Service. They tow vessels up to 250 feet; towing vessels in and out of dry docks, assist anyone that needs an extra tug, shift barges, pile drivers, crabbers, tenders, long-liners, fish processors, Navy ships, NOAA ships and all kinds of yachts.   They write:  “You name it, we have moved it.”

Global Diving and Salvage

Gold sponsor Global Diving and Salvage, is the largest diving contractor on the West Coast, a leading provider of marine construction and infrastructure support services in the United States, and an internationally recognized casualty responder.  Global Diving supports Northwest Seaport efforts to create work force development programs.

Port of Seattle

Gold sponsor Port of Seattle, is a public agency that creates jobs by advancing trade and commerce, promoting industrial growth, and stimulating economic development. The Port of Seattle supports Northwest Seaport programs offering workforce development opportunities and public/business interactions.

Vigor IndustrialGold sponsor Vigor Industrial, Their companies share a common goal: providing world-class maritime and industrial services to build jobs, build and repair ships, and to build and strengthen the communities where we live and work.   Vigor’s support provides Northwest Seaport with ability to provide public programs focused on ship restoration projects.

Vulcan IncGold sponsor Vulcan Inc., whose mission is to create and advance a variety of world-class endeavors and high impact initiatives that change and improve the way we live, learn, do business and experience the world, supports Northwest Seaport’s public programs and community events.

WorkBoatGold sponsor WorkBoat, is a free online resource for commercial marine professionals, providing its members access to the latest news and information about the industry in a single place.  WorkBoat supports Northwest Seaport’s mission to educate the public about maritime professions and activities.

Silver sponsors, such as 48NorthThe Anchor Program, Alaska Fisheries Science Center-NOAA, Ballard Brothers Seafood and BurgersBuca di Beppo-SeattleFoss Maritime Company, Havorn Marine Services, ,LAZERQUICK PrintingLighthouse RoastersMarine Yacht PhotographyMaritime Pacific Brewing CompanyMaxum Petroleum, Ocean Trawler Yachts, LLCProfessional Mariner , and Wild Salmon Seafood Market are also supporting the Seaport and the show.  Their commitment underscores how both small and very large international companies will participate.

John N Cobb to participates in Classic Workboat Show at Lake Union Park's Historic Ships Wharf. Here it's docked with 1889 tug Arthur Foss.

John N Cobb to participate in Classic Workboat Show at Lake Union Park’s Historic Ships Wharf. Here it’s docked with 1889 tug Arthur Foss.

Providing educational opportunities for families and the public is a key objective of this maritime and marine event.  Northwest Seaport is partnering with NOAA and Alaska Fisheries Science Center to launch a marine science platform aboard the retired NOAA research vessel, JOHN N. COBB.  Additionally, Havorn Marine Services will host a “Marine Survey University” talk and The Anchor Program will engage potential mariners with classroom training options.

Sponsors will benefit from the fact that many families will be attending MOHAI’s Seattle Fire Day on October 5 (free museum attendance 10 am – 2 pm).  Fire engines and activities inside, co-sponsored by Seattle Fire Department, will draw nearly three thousand people, MOHAI staff speculated.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available!  Please contact Northwest Seaport to support this event.

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): http://retiredtugs.org/2013/09/ )

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: http://retiredtugs.org/3/boat-roster/display-boat-details/?id=12 )

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.