Tag Archives: lightship

Greet The Season

The partners of Lake Union Park’s annual Greet the Season features live music, ship tours, crafts, and many other fun activities for all ages. The event opens at 10 a.m. and continues all day, ending with the send-off of the Christmas Ships at 7 p.m.

The historic ships Virginia V, Arthur Foss, Swiftsure, and Lotus will be open to the public.  Here is a schedule of events aboard the Virginia V:

10 am–7 pm  Open ship (free hot drinks, snacks, and ship tours)
10 am–6 pm  Maritime Folknet presents live music (complete music schedule here)
10 am–5 pm  Discovery Modelers Education Center presents signal flag making

A complete schedule of the day’s activities is available at www.atlakeunionpark.org/GreetTheSeason

Visit Northwest Seaport Museum Ships

tugboat Arthur FossFree First Thursday! Happy Birthday beloved tug Arthur Foss … 125 in 2014!  Welcome aboard the museum ships Arthur Foss & lightship Swiftsure.

Built in 1889 to tow sailing ships 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,” one of the most powerful tugboats on the West Coast, and the last vessel to escape Wake Island before the Japanese invasion. Now, Arthur Foss continues her career as a heritage vessel.

Deck project with public safely viewing volunteers and shipwrights.

Deck project with public safely viewing volunteers and shipwrights.

One of the oldest lightships in the country and the only one to have her original steam engines, LV83 was launched in Camden, New Jersey, in 1904 and steamed around the tip of South America to her first station at Blunts Reef in California. While on station at Blunts Reef, she saved 150 people when their ship ran aground in dense fog. LV83 had numerous names on her sides, all of which indicated the location of her station. The lightship once served as a floating lighthouse and was stationed in the open ocean a few miles off the mouth of a bay or inlet, a beacon to ships entering or leaving the waterways.

Step onboard!

Try these activities when Planning a Visit.

Swiftsure and Shipwright Featured in Ballard News Tribune

Brian Johnson Plank horizontal web

Photo by Shane Harms of Ballard News Tribune

‘A boat builds a community, and a community builds a boat’

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Heeling in Time: Swiftsure a beacon in maritime history

Two Ballard News Tribune stories share Swiftsure’s stories and the story, passion, experience and vision for the lightship, a beacon of Lake Union.

Ballard shipwright keeping the trade alive after nearly 40 years (reprinted with permission)

By Shane Harms
06/10/2014
Stepping aboard Swiftsure, (Lighthouse No. 83), a 109-year-old Coast Guard Lightship, is like stepping into a floating time capsule slowly undergoing a metamorphic rejuvenation.

Onboard a lone figure is at work fitting 500-year-old Doug Fir deck pieces around the huge smokestack. The shipwright listens to Tango music that riots in the bright-lit canopied dome that protects the Swiftsure from the elements while the deck is restored.

Swiftsure Project Shipwright, Brian Johnson, almost 60, is an inquisitive man. He lives in Ballard, and dances the Tango and is a martial artist. But, mostly, Johnson knows boats.
Johnson has been working with boats all his life. He built his first vessel at the age of five. It sank, but the experience spurred a life long love of boats and an ingenuitive passion for the maritime industry.

Northwest Seaport, owner of the Swiftsure, have asked Johnson to use his shipwright expertise in rebuilding the deck — just one piece in an ongoing restoration puzzle.

“I’m a commercial fishermen and a shipwright — you can’t get anymore Norwegian than that. … I’ve been on and off boats for 40 years either on them breaking them or underneath fixing them,” said Johnson.  read more…

Cover June 26 Ballard News-Tribune Shane HarmsBy Shane Harms
06/26/2014

Heeling in Time: Swiftsure a beacon in maritime history

Northwest Seaport, a maritime heritage organization, is restoring a 109–year-old Lightship (No. 83) called Swiftsure.

The Swiftsure is to become a floating museum, and in their effort to revive the ship, they hope to discover the rich, nuanced layers of history the ship contains and also share the lore of bygone days with the public by having them actively participate in the project. Swiftsure is open to the public and floats at the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park.

According to Nathaniel Howe, the Vessel Manager & Nautical Archeologist for Northwest Seaport, 179 lightships were built between 1820 and 1952, and of those, 17 remain, half of which have become floating museums.

Built in 1904, Swiftsure was first forged in the Carnegie steel furnaces in New Jersey. That same year, America gained control of the Panama Canal and engineers started the daunting challenge of opening the earth for naval passage. Indeed, the Swiftsure was fabricated from an era of unprecedented strides in engineering and industry.  Read more…

Northwest Seaport wins Historic Vessel Preservation Award

Historic Seattle Vessel Preservation Award 2014 Swiftsure

Northwest Seaport was honored to received the 2014 Historic Vessel Preservation Award and wish to thank Lake Union Drydock Co. for their support.

The Historic Vessel Preservation Award (presented by Historic Seattle) goes to Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center and its supporting partner for blending maritime history, education and public outreach through the restoration of the heritage vessel and museum, Lightship No. 83.

Historic Vessel Preservation Award (PDF)
Lightship No. 83, “The Swiftsure”
South Lake Union Pier
Supporting Partners: Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center (owner);  Lake Union Drydock Co. (restoration support).
Award was presented May 13, 2014.

(text from program) Lightship No. 83 was one of four original lightships to serve along the Pacific Coast with primary assignments at Blunts Reef, San Francisco and Coast Guard District 13. The vessel relies on a two-boiler steam engine with an indicated horsepower of 325 for propulsion. Originally, the vessel had a centralized stack between two masts with a concentration of oil lamps in each head to serve as lanterns.

Historic Seattle Preservation Award Ceremony Program 2014Lightship No. 83 was constructed in 1904 by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, NJ and delivered to Cape Mendocino, CA, to serve as the first floating lighthouse at the Blunts Reef lightship station, the ship’s namesake from 1905-1930. The primary function of the vessel was to occupy a station a few miles from a point of access to a port center and serve as a floating beacon to incoming and outgoing ships. In 1930 Lightship No. 83 was transferred to and renamed “San Francisco.” It occupied a lightship station beyond the Golden Gate Bridge until 1942 when it was withdrawn and reclassified as a WWII examination vessel after the installation of a coastal defense gun. Following WWII, Lightship No. 83 returned to the San Francisco lightship station. From 1951-1960 Lightship No. 83 was stationed in Coast Guard District 13 and renamed “Relief.” The ship served Umatilla Reef, Swiftsure Banks and Columbia River lightship stations.

Lightship No. 83 was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1961. In 1968, it was purchased by Northwest Seaport (then known as Save Our Ships). It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and in 1996, the vessel was given the name of the most proximate lightship station, “Swiftsure.”

After three months of extensive restoration in drydock, the Swiftsure was re-launched in August of 2013 in South Lake Union, where it currently serves as a floating museum showcasing the oldest surviving lightship on the West Coast. Restoration efforts included replacing the wooden deck; restoring the electrical system; rigging; removal of hazardous materials; and removal of the deteriorated wheelhouse, radio house and wood weather deck.

The hull was cleaned, reinforced, and painted with the distinctive Coast Guard Red color. The restoration provided a unique opportunity for distinguished shipwrights, Nautical Archaeologists and volunteers to work hand-in-hand to maintain the ship in a manner that preserves its historic functionality while ensuring its preservation for future generations. Volunteers are afforded the opportunity to learn and continue the practice of the maritime trade that is so pertinent to coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. The restoration of the Swiftsure is a valuable model for linking the past, present and future in a manner that is both active and educational.

NOTE:  Northwest Seaport was honored to received the 2014 Historic Vessel Preservation Award and wish to thank Lake Union Drydock Co. for their support.  For a full list of awards, visit Historic Seattle.

Historic Seattle Preservation Award Recognizes Seaport

Historic Seattle 40th LogoNorthwest Seaport is honored to receive the first Historic Vessel Preservation award from Historic Seattle: Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure.”  Thank you Historic Seaport!  Please join us for this celebration!

Read Award Press Release Here (PDF)

On May 13 we host our 6th Annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony at the landmark Good Shepherd Center to acknowledge recent successes in the field locally. Join with old and new friends and colleagues who share a passion for preservation. Enjoy a social hour of tasty hors d’oeuvres, dessert and beverages by Christine Lea of Christine & Co. Catering before the ceremony. John Carrington, principal harpist with Pacific Northwest Ballet, performs on a marvelous Art Deco harp and Dawn Clement returns for her third year at the grand piano in The Chapel Space.

Historic Seattle Logo2014 Historic Seattle Preservation Award recipients are:

  • Historic Vessel Preservation: Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure”
  • Beth Chave Historic Preservation Award for Best Restoration: King Street Station
  • Sustainable Preservation: Supply Laundry Building
  • Exemplary Stewardship:St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • Preserving Neighborhood Character: Ada’s Technical Books
  • Communications and Technology: Capitol Hill Seattle Blog
  • Community Advocacy: Friends of the Market
  • Community Investment: John Bennett

Sponsored by KeyBank

Registration with Historic Seattle (Not Northwest Seaport): $75 members; $85 general public; $25 students. Includes appetizers, one glass wine or beer, dessert, coffee / tea.  $25 is a tax-deductible contribution to Historic Seattle Preservation Foundation.  Formal program at 6:45 pm.

Light on the Lake: A Benefit for Swiftsure

Lightship No. 83 "Swiftsure" at her relaunching in Lake Union 2013. Deckhouses are removed.

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” at her relaunching in Lake Union 2013. Deckhouses are removed.

Light on the Lake:  A Benefit for Lightship No. 83, Swiftsure (PDF poster)

Join us aboard Lightship No. 83 for an exclusive, behind the scenes glimpse of the ongoing restoration of this National Historic Landmark, the oldest floating lighthouse in the United States. Enjoy cocktails, live music, and hors d’oeuvres as you explore the cabins, officers’ quarters and engine room while the patina of the ship’s rich history is still visible in the faded paint, elegant woodwork, and steam era machinery.

Northwest Seaport, now celebrating 50 years of service to the community, is a non-profit
organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime heritage of the
Puget Sound and Northwest Coast, as well as development of maritime-based educational
programs and opportunities for the public.

The Light on the Lake benefit will be Northwest Seaport’s first fundraiser onboard the Lightship. This premier event will be the last chance to experience this storied ship before the restoration of her historic interior begins. Proceeds will benefit the ongoing restoration, including the installation of a new wooden deck.

Built in 1904 (8 years before Titanic), Lightship No. 83 served on all five west coast lightship
stations during her 55 years of operation. She rescued shipwreck victims, narrowly survived a
collision, served as an armed patrol vessel in WWII and guided thousands of ships safely in and
out of west coast harbors including San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound. Retired from Coast
Guard service in 1960, Lightship No. 83 was purchased by Northwest Seaport (then Save Our
Ships) in 1966 to become a museum ship.

Keep the light on the lake burning brightly! Tickets are available for $100 (includes Northwest
Seaport membership).  Attire: “Shipyard Chic”

Location: The Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park, Seattle

Tickets $100 at www.brownpapertickets.com

Lightship Overfalls is Reborn: From a Rust Bucket to a Landmark

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

In 1999 the Lightship Overfalls (LV-118) lay rusting to pieces in a muddy hole in Lewes, Delaware. The community seemingly had lost hope of restoration and attempts to give her away were unsuccessful. Then, a small group of local citizens took ownership of the ailing vessel to save her from the ship breakers. The group put together a comprehensive plan to bring her back from the brink of oblivion. The plan, even with the extensive use of volunteer labor, had a capital budget of $1.2 million and the group had scant resources and no credibility.

The presentation discusses the project’s 13-year history including how the funds were raised and how the group stayed right on budget. Today, the museum ship is an award winning, National Historic Landmark, designated in 2011, and is featured in a park setting worthy of the vessel and the crews who served aboard.

The Center for Wooden Boat is co-hosting event and graciously provides their boathouse as the evening’s venue.  Directions

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Park Lewes, Del

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Park Lewes, Del

David Bernheisel, Honorary Board member of the Overfalls Foundation, is a retired Federal employee and a self-proclaimed “life-long river rat.” He has been actively involved in the Overfalls Foundation since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors and in the roles of President, Vice President, and Out-reach Chair. For three years he served as a crew member of Delaware’s tall ship, Kalmar Nyckle, and completed the America’s Great Loop cruise in his own boat. He has also had international assignments with the USAID funded Farmer-to-Farmer program and as an election observer.

Lightship Overfalls is Reborn: From a Rust Bucket to a Landmark

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Bow Lewes Del

In 1999 the Lightship Overfalls (LV-118) lay rusting to pieces in a muddy hole in Lewes, Delaware. The community seemingly had lost hope of restoration and attempts to give her away were unsuccessful. Then, a small group of local citizens took ownership of the ailing vessel to save her from the ship breakers. The group put together a comprehensive plan to bring her back from the brink of oblivion. The plan, even with the extensive use of volunteer labor, had a capital budget of $1.2 million and the group had scant resources and no credibility.

The presentation discusses the project’s 13-year history including how the funds were raised and how the group stayed right on budget. Today, the museum ship is an award winning, National Historic Landmark, designated in 2011, and is featured in a park setting worthy of the vessel and the crews who served aboard.

Lightship Overfalls WAL539 LV118 Park Lewes, Del

David Bernheisel, Honorary Board member of the Overfalls Foundation, is a retired Federal employee and a self-proclaimed “life-long river rat.” He has been actively involved in the Overfalls Foundation since 2000, serving on the Board of Directors and in the roles of President, Vice President, and Out-reach Chair. For three years he served as a crew member of Delaware’s tall ship, Kalmar Nyckle, and completed the America’s Great Loop cruise in his own boat. He has also had international assignments with the USAID funded Farmer-to-Farmer program and as an election observer.

The Center for Wooden Boat is co-hosting event and graciously provides their boathouse as the evening’s venue.  Directions

— Lightship Work Party in the afternoon before talk. —

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

Lighting of the Lightship

GTS-Poster cropped Ships Activities

Northwest Seaport illuminates hundreds of feet of lights decorating the historic lightship No.83 “Swiftsure.”  Plan to board Swiftsure for a simple ceremony to welcome in the holidays.

At 5:00 pm. , just after sunset, Greet the Season attendees and South Lake Union community members will gather for an official Lighting of the Lightship.

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

Historic Ships Wharf evening traffic

Historic Ships Wharf was illuminated in 2012 and set the tone for a lovely ringing-in of the holiday.

Join 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.  Also…. toy boat building, cookie decorating, card and ornament making, knot tying, other crafts, music and dance performances!

Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” and tugboat Arthur Foss are open from 12:00 – 5:00pm.

The day’s 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.