Home Making Waves Making Waves – November 2021

Making Waves – November 2021

by Randy Woods

Owned and lovingly maintained by Northwest Seaport, the collection includes the Lightship No. 83 known as SWIFTSURE, the tugboat Arthur Foss, and the halibut schooner F/V Tordenskjold. In addition to the educational programs offered by the nonprofit organization that focus on introducing young people to careers in the maritime industry, Northwest Seaport also frequently opens up the vessels for public viewing during pre-arranged tours, special events, for overnight boat stays, and their extremely popular seasonal Tugboat Happy Hours. These efforts raise awareness and funds for its goal to burnish these relics of Seattle maritime history to their original glory, efforts such as:

  • Replete with a stunning red hull, the SWIFTSURE, built in 1904, is the oldest lightship in the United States and a designated National Historic Landmark. So far, the lightship restoration project is about halfway complete, but the most immediate need for the 189-foot “floating lighthouse” is to replace the plastic cover protecting the ship from the elements, according to vessel manager and Seaport nautical archaeologist Saxon T. Bisbee. Additional funding is also needed for materials and labor to re-caulk and seal the boat’s deck seams. 
  • The Seaport’s oldest vessel, the Arthur Foss, built in 1889, was used to tow sailing ships across the Columbia Bar to Astoria and Portland in Oregon, as well as other ships to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98. It now needs extensive restoration to become operational again, Saxon said, that will require drydocking for replacement of its hull planking above the waterline.
  • The Tordenskjold was launched in 1911, but is considered a new addition, after retiring from service in 2012 and being added to the Seaport fleet in 2017. Saxon said the organization is working on a sustainable maintenance plan that could bring the diesel schooner back to operation for part of the year, then returning to display in South Lake Union for the rest.

All told, the Seaport’s estimated restoration needs for the entire fleet will be $5 million to $10 million, a number they hope to reach through grants and donations. General donations are always welcome via their website, or interested parties can also support the restoration efforts by attending and giving at the organization’s virtual annual gala to be held on December 4th. For information on the gala, and the organization, visit: nwseaport.org.


Ocean Victory to Begin B.C.-Alaska Cruises in 2022

Next year, a strikingly modern and luxurious new vessel is expected to begin carrying passengers from Vancouver, British Columbia, to the fjords and glaciers of Southeast Alaska. The 342-foot Ocean Victory, with its innovative X-Bow design, will be operated by Victory Cruise Lines for 12- to 13-day, round-trip cruises to Sitka, Alaska.

According to Victory Cruise Lines, a sister brand of American Queen Steamboat Co., the cruises are expected to begin in May 2022 and will explore the less-traveled regions of Alaska’s Inside Passage, which larger ships cannot access. Initial ports of call will include Fiordland (Kynoch Inlet), Ketchikan/Metlakatla, Misty Fjords National Monument, the Wrangell/Stikine River Wilderness, the Waterfall Coast of the Baranof Islands, and several other locations that provide close-up views of glaciers and local wildlife. 

Launched herself in 2020, Ocean Victory can accommodate up to 186 passengers and 100 crew members, providing the opportunity to intimately experience the wilds of the Alaska Panhandle. The journeys will include side expeditions via kayaks and Zodiac boats to view wildlife from sliding observation platforms. Passengers will also be able to observe marine research being carried out by California Polytechnic State University students and have discussions with First Nations leaders.

“My most memorable travel experiences have always been journeys of complete immersion — whether it’s in a culture, an ecosystem, region, or simply being immersed with my family and fellow travelers,” said John Waggoner, chairman of Victory Cruise Lines.

Victory Cruise sailings will be available from May through September 2022. For more information, visit: victorycruiselines.com.


Everett to Dredge Silted Boat Launch
For boaters who are tired of getting stranded on low-tide sandbars in Everett, Washington, help is on the way. Upcoming dredging operations in the region should clear the way at boat launches in the area.

In August, the Port of Everett Commission authorized public works bids to complete maintenance dredging at the Jetty Landing Boat Launch, located at 10th Street and West Marine View Drive. The work is expected to take place this winter and continue through early 2022, removing up to 41,000 cubic yards of sediment built up by the Snohomish River.

The Port is also coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek emergency authorization to expand its dredging authorization beyond the boat-launch footprint to mitigate sandbar growth into the Snohomish River Navigation Channel. If the action is successful, the Port could dredge an additional 8,000 cubic yards to create a connector channel through the sandbar.

“We have reached a point where dredging the launch and establishing reliable access to and from the navigation channel is imperative to keeping this public facility operating as intended,” said Lisa Lefeber, CEO of the Port of Everett. “Thousands of boaters depend on the launch and surrounding waterways to be accessible at all tide levels, including our local emergency responders who provide critical on-the-water life safety services.”

The 13-lane boat launch is the largest in Washington state, accommodating more than 30,000 launches each year. To provide access to various Everett-area maritime locations, the launch must be dredged periodically to maintain navigable depths. This need has increased exponentially in recent years, due to extreme weather events and historical shifts in Snohomish River flow, the Port said.

“To ensure the Port’s dredging investment provides value and the launch doesn’t fill right back up, we must prioritize a resolution for the increasing river siltation challenges at and around the launch,” Lefeber said.

Until a longer-term solution for the shifts in river siltation can be addressed, the Port cautioned boaters to check tide schedules for anticipated departure and return times, and to be mindful of the drafts of their vessels. For more details on the dredging efforts, go to: portofeverett.com.

Seattle Boat Show Celebrates Diamond Anniversary with Move to Bell Harbor

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the venerable Seattle Boat Show next year at Lumen Field Event Center, the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) that organizes the exhibition said it will move the afloat portion of the exhibition from South Lake Union to the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina.

The shift in venue will bring the in-water displays for the Boat Show much closer than in it has been in years past. Bell Harbor is located just 1.1 miles away from Lumen Field, which is adjacent to the second-largest parking garage in Seattle, making it much easier for attendees and exhibitors to move between the two locations.

“I am a believer and supporter of the Seattle waterfront,” said NMTA president George Harris about the move. “Bell Harbor is also ‘show ready,’ with pristine docks, ample power on every dock, and an event-loving management team at the Port of Seattle. I’m certain Lumen Field Event Center plus Bell Harbor Marina is the best location in the Northwest for local and out-of-town boaters to become inspired Northwest boaters.”

Harris also said he is looking forward to the return of an in-person show after this year’s drastically Covid-limited, digital-only exhibition. “Boating interest is at an all-time high,” he said. “I’m certain the seamless integration of the indoor and afloat displays at Bell Harbor will make the 2022 Seattle Boat Show sparkle for its diamond anniversary.”

Slated to run from February 4-12, 2022, the Boat Show moved forward on the calendar from January to February, in accordance with changes to this season’s NFL schedule, which has been extended from 16 weeks to 17. (Let’s hope the Seahawks will still be playing that late in the season!)

For more information on registration and exhibitor details, visit the Boat Show website at: seattleboatshow.com.

Seattle Yachts Acquires Bullfrog Boats’ Line of Tenders and Utility Vessels

In early October, Seattle Yachts announced it had acquired all the assets of Bellingham-based Bullfrog Boats, one of the Northwest’s leaders in quality yacht tenders and utility vessels. The move is expected to extend the reach of Bullfrog Boats beyond the region as Seattle Yachts has offices in California, Maryland, and South Florida in addition to four outposts in the Northwest, including Anacortes and Seattle

Known to be virtually unsinkable, thanks to foam-filled positive flotation construction including an aluminum hull and a polyethylene flotation collar, Bullfrog Boats’ models range from a 10-foot yacht tender to the 22-foot Offshore Ranger. The 17-foot Sport Utility tender has even been modified for local Fire & Rescue departments and was chosen for its dependability and durability.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer Bullfrog Boats to our trawler, sailboat, and cruising yacht customers,” says Peter Whiting, managing partner of Seattle Yachts. “The ability for these tenders to help you explore the environment around you in safety fits perfectly with our ‘Adventure Boating’ culture.”

For more on the full line available via Seattle Yachts, go to: seattleyachts.com

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