Tag Archives: swiftsure

Classic Workboat Show

Classic Workboat Show 2016Come down to the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park to join in the fun of the 4th Annual Classic Workboat Show. You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind experience to visit and tour classic and modern working boats including tugboats, fishing boats, training vessels, research vessels, and ex-military vessels! There will be live music, engine demonstrations, food trucks and more! All ages are welcome.

Classic Workboat Show 2014

Classic Workboat Show 2013“First Saturday in October”
October 4, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Lake Union Park, Seattle

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.

The Northwest Seaport Classic Workboat Show is an exciting gathering of local Northwest workboats joining the Seaport’s floating fleet at Lake Union Park.

Family enjoying Classic Workboat Show aboard Fireboat DUWAMISH. Photo Jeff Caven

Family enjoying Classic Workboat Show aboard Fireboat DUWAMISH. Photo Jeff Caven

Visitors will be able to board select vessels, meet crew members, and feel the vibrations of idling marine engines during startups. Workboats may feature rare restored Atlas-Imperial or Washington Iron Works diesel engines, including Northwest Seaport’s own 125 year-old tugboat Arthur Foss, a National Historic Landmark.

Workboats will wrapLake Union Park and create an authentic maritime and marine experience,. This show will has become a Seattle signature event each autumn. View 2013 photo gallery below.

Classic Workboat Show Tugboat Lineup Jeff Caven

Classic Workboat Show Tugboat Lineup of RELIABLE, HENRIETTA FOSS and patron. Jeff Caven









Generously sponsored by the following:


Western Towboat Company logo

Pacific Fishermen Shipyard


new-logo-small-w-web copy



Lake Union Drydock Company


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

Vulcan IncPort of SeattleVigor IndustrialWorkBoatGlobal Diving and SalvageFremont Tugboat CompanyGold:
Fremont Tugboat CompanyGlobal Diving

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

Silver: 48NorthAlaska Fisheries Science Center-NOAAThe Anchor Program, Buca di Beppo–Seattle,  Foss Maritime CompanyHavorn Marine Service, LAZERQUICK PrintingLighthouse RoastersMarine Yacht PhotographyMaritime Pacific Brewing CompanyMaxum Petroleum, Ocean Trawler Yachts, LLCProfessional MarinerWild Salmon Seafood Market

Wish to support this grand event?  Contact Northwest Seaport.

Presenting maritime and marine education programs:
Alaska Fisheries Science Center-NOAA, Havorn Marine Services, Retired Tugboat Association, The Anchor Program

(NOTE: 0900 Captain and Crew Meeting aboard tug Arthur Foss (galley coffee provided))

Classic Workboat Show

Northwest Seaport Ice Cream Social 2014

Lopez Island CreameryGet the Scoop!  Northwest Seaport invites its donors, sponsors, members, volunteers and festival exhibitors.

Experience ‘On Deck!’, the public re-decking project aboard the lightship Swiftsure…with extraordinary ice cream, sponsored by Lopez Island Creamery.  Dig In…and come to learn about and dig our work.

Scooping Lopez Island Creamery Ice Cream at NWS Ice Cream Social

LOPEZ ISLAND CREAMERY ice cream will once again be the featured dessert of choice at the 201r Northwest Seaport Ice Cream Social as part of the 38th Annual Wooden Boat Festival.  Alex and Ingrid are committed to: Maintaining the superb quality of the ice cream using all-natural and delicious ingredients Crafting and fine tuning recipes for Lopez Island Creamery’s core flavors and creating new specialty ice cream flavors like Anacortes Porter and Pelindaba Lavender Widening the market for Lopez Island Creamery throughout the Puget Sound region and beyond.

Sponsors: LOPEZ ISLAND CREAMERY 9080 S March Pt Road B4, Anacortes, Washington 98221

Event open to NWS donors, sponsors, members, volunteers and Wooden Boat Festival crew/exhibitors only, please.

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’


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
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

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…

Visit Museum Ships Free First Thursday

Tugboat Arthur Foss at Historic Ships Wharf Christian RiddellFree First Thursday! Welcome aboard the museum ships and National Historic Landmarks, tugboat Arthur Foss & lightship Swiftsure.  Tugboat will be open to the public.

The tugboat Arthur Foss is a heritage vessel, museum ship with public programs, and platform for public service.  In 1989 the vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.  View new documentary and learn about its history: “Arthur Foss: Iconic Tugboat of the Northwest.”

Celebrating 125 years of maritime innovation and expertise is the Foss Maritime Company.  Thursday evening, many Foss Maritime Co. representatives will gather in Seattle.  Learn more from the celebration’s press release.

2014 Tugboat Arthur Foss Campaign:   King County 4Culture recently recognized Northwest Seaport’s work with a Landmark Challenge Grant of $25,000, the maximum funding, to complete system revitalization for the Arthur Foss.  4Culture requires Northwest Seaport to raise an equal amount of funding to unlock their grant funds.  Make a contribution today.  Special: Memembership to NWS is FREE with $100 donations and greater to this campaign.

Wish to become involved with restoration?  Please contact Northwest Seaport.  Also, try these activities or even overnighting aboard Arthur Foss when Planning a Visit.

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.

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