100 Years of Longline Fishing in Historic Power Schooners Celebrated in New Exhibit at The Center for Wooden Boats
Discover the Story of the Families and Boats of Seattle’s Historic Halibut Fleet and Celebrate the 100-year Anniversary of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association
A boat parade is not all that unusual in Seattle. We do it for Opening Day in May. We do it for Christmas Ships in December. But Thursday February 13th’s boat parade is a little different. It’s not a line of pleasure boats. This is a parade of some of Seattle’s oldest commercial wooden fishing boats moving down the ship canal to take up positions at the Historic Ships Wharf near The Center for Wooden Boats to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association, and to mark the opening of CWB’s new exhibit that details the history of the longline schooners and the local crews who continue to take these boats to the North Pacific to bring halibut and Black Cod to your table.
The exhibit “Highliners: Boats of the Century” was designed to make sure Seattle understand the importance of these wooden boats that are still in service after 100 years. The new exhibit also highlights the advances in technology and fisheries management that members of the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association helped implement on these boats during the organization’s long history. Based at the Port of Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal, the fleet’s efforts over the past century have helped ensure the North Pacific halibut fishery is safe, efficient and sustainably managed.
“The sustainable fishing techniques this fleet developed are a key reason that Pacific Fisheries have not been over fished, and why they continue to bring thousands of jobs to Seattle’s economy,” said Betsy Davis, Executive Director of The Center for Wooden Boats. “We want to tell this story to highlight the connection Seattle has always had to the water, but also to make sure the community knows how this fleet’s history has led to its present success and will lead to its future…sometimes aboard boats FVOA member’s grandfathers had built.”
“When we contacted CWB about helping with our anniversary we were surprised, and pleased, that they already knew about our boats and wanted to do a full blown exhibit about the fleet and our members, “said Bob Alverson, Manager of the Fishing Vessel Owner’s Association. “The Space Needle, high tech campuses, stadiums and Boeing plants are a constant reminder to the community of those industries, but when Seattle’s fishing fleet is out over the horizon folks tend to forget about us.”
“Our local commercial fishing industry anchored at Fishermen’s Terminal, pours about $5 billion dollars into our economy every year through its fish catch and the thousands of jobs it sustains both on land and at sea,” said Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Stephanie Bowman. “We want to congratulate the members of FVOA on their 100 years of service to the community, and as we celebrate our own centennial at Fishermen’s Terminal this year, we’re proud to work with The Center for Wooden Boats to ensure Seattle has the chance to learn more about this still vibrant industry that calls this region home.”
The new exhibit features a timeline of Seattle based commercial fishing in the NW and information about the development of the FVOA Schooners and the characteristics that make them uniquely suited to northwest waters. The exhibit has photos of the boats still fishing today and maps marking important shipyards. Video oral histories of select FVOA members are part of the exhibit, as is a reconnaissance survey of the FVOA fleet that includes histories of the boats, current and those long gone, with longer highlights about selected boats; including some boat plans from the collection of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. As part of the project, CWB is also working with the International Pacific Halibut Commission to digitize many of the photos they have stored on unstable nitrate negatives which are in danger of deteriorating. Some of those images are being used in the exhibit.
“Highliners: Boats of the Century” was conceived by former CWB Historic Projects Manager Andrew Washburn and designed by curator Abby Inpanbutr. Their last exhibit collaboration at CWB, “FishON!”, won an award as the best new historical museum exhibit in King County in 2013. “A lot of times when you’re putting together a history exhibit, the thing you are talking about is long gone,” said Inpanbutr. “But in this case it’s a living history, with families to talk to, and boats that in some cases have run aground, burned, been damaged. But in this story these men and women patch the holes, refloat the boats, and go fishing again.”
As part of the work, The University of Washington History Professor Bruce Hevly led a team of students who catalogued the innovations in technology, economics and vessel design that were happening in the Seattle-based fleet as the FVOA developed. “This project gave my students the unique chance to scour documents and periodicals from the last 100 years to do research about the fleet and then visit the boats themselves in Ballard to see if what they were learning in the library matched what the found on the actual boats they were reading about, said Hevly. “The project also allowed students an uncommon opportunity to see their research immediately turned into a public facing exhibit that they’ll be able to see in a museum before they all graduate.”
CWB thanks the many partners and sponsors who have worked together to fund and create this new exhibit, including: 4Culture, the Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, Whole Foods Markets, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, Fishermen’s News, published by Philips Publishing Group, the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, The Port of Seattle and The University of Washington Department of History.
The representative boats from the fleet such as the f/v Seymore, f/v Vansee, f/v Kristiana, f/v Polaris and others will be at the Wharf in Lake Union Park for the opening of the exhibit February 15th, 2014…but can only stay for a few weeks. They may be historic boats built during World War 1 but they still have a job to do. Many will be heading out to the North Pacific where the halibut season opens on March 8th.
Bills that would designate Washington’s saltwater shorelines a State Heritage Area to promote tourism were praised during their first hearings in separate House and Senate committee meetings in Olympia Tuesday.
The bills (HB 2386, SB 6246), which do not create any new regulations or require new state spending, are designed to make it easier for Washington’s various maritime museums, lighthouses, historic ships, tribes and historic districts to tell a unified story about how the waters of Puget Sound and the coast were integral to the development of Washington State.
The Bills also call on congress to take a similar action and recognize a Maritime Washington: National Heritage Area. Non-regulatory National Heritage Areas are promoted throughout the National Park System to drive tourism. There are 49 National Heritage Areas, but none on the West Coasts, and none that focuses on Maritime history. The importance of Washington’s maritime history as a nationally significant story has been acknowledged by the National Park Service, but the legislation that would allow that designation is stalled in congress.
Tuesday representatives from local governments, historic organizations such as Greys Harbor Seaport, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, tourism groups and the National Historic Trust praised the legislation and thanked lawmakers for supporting it. Businesses such as Holland American Lines and Pope and Talbot Timber Company also went on the record in support of the legislation at the hearings. A representative of Pope & Talbot testified at both hearings, telling lawmakers that his company has projects inside the area covered by the Historic Designation, but supports the legislation as the company understands the need to promote the state’s heritage and that these bills do not add new regulations or state spending.
Even the Washington Farm Bureau, whose parent organization has opposed Heritage Areas nationally over concern about regulations, made a point of telling the Senate committee that it was “strongly neutral” on this proposal.
“This designation will raise the profile of Washington’s maritime heritage, which is still being written every day on our waterfronts,” said Les Bolton, Executive Director of the Greys Harbor Historic Seaport in Aberdeen in his testimony. “It will help our young people know where we’ve come from and that great jobs are still available to them in the maritime industries.”
The next step for the parallel bills will be decisions by the House Environment Committee and the Senate Parks and Natural Resources Committees on whether to send the measures on so votes in the full House and Senate can be scheduled.
More information on the Bills can be found on the Washington Legislature’s website at:
If you’ve wandered by The Center for Wooden Boats South Lake Union Boatshop this sunny and crisp week, you may have noted a little work being done to CWB’s floating boatshop. Volunteers from OAC Services and BNB Builders are taking advantage of a traditional slow time in the shop to install a new boat lift system for us.
When it’s done, the new lift will make it much easier to get boats that need some love from boatshop volunteers up out of the water and into the shop.
For years we’ve been using a tired old seaplane dry dock float, the one with the crazy PVC pipes all over it to control air in 4 old septic tanks under the float. We’ve been using that to lift boats up. Then we round up volunteers to manhandle the boat into the doors of the shop. But that float will soon be retired.
With the new system, a strong rail will extend out of the new dormer on the Northside of the building. When we need to pick up a boat, we’ll maneuver it into slings under the rail, lift the boat up, and then just slide it along the rail into the shop.
OAC Services Seattle office has designed a retrofit of the Boatshop, making sure the engineering works and that the athletics match Dick Wagner’s original design for CWB first building. OAC donated all the design time through the permit stage and work on the steel I-beam construction. Yakima Steel donated and fabricated the beam. Scott Galvanizing in Ballard has galvanized the beam to protect it from the elements, and Ballard Hardware donated the trolley that will allow boats to Glide in an out of the shop. And BNB is donating the time of its crew to install the new system.
The work is part of a larger effort to restore and upgrade The Center for Wooden Boats facilities at South Lake Union, a large part of which has been spearheaded by the Seattle District of AGC, The Association of General Contractors of Washington, whose headquarters is just across Lake Union Park from the museum.
AGC volunteers made improvements at CWB their year-long community service project. Earlier this year ACG crews completed a list of projects:
- Lennon Crane brought in a mobile crane to lift CWB docks in and out of water for repair.
- Cal Portland provided a dump truck to remove debris.
- NCM Group provided a dumpster for construction debris.
- KBA Construction Management Company coordinated services.
- Garner Construction provided the operator and riggers for the crane
- Snyder roofing has committed to fixing up the roofing on the CWB Floating boatshop and boathouse.
- McKinstry Inc. provided the materials and labor to install a new stove pipe for wood stove in boat shop.
- Gray Lumber provided the materials at a discount and also the manpower for construction and repair of wood storage cabinets for life jackets, foul weather gear and other CWB supplies.
- Lease, Crutcher, Lewis provided teams for construction and repair of storage cabinets.
- NECA, Holmes Electric and IBEW worked together to improve electrical connections on CWB’s docks.
There is no way we could have completed all these improvements this year without the generous support of AGC and all its members”, said Betsy Davis, CWB Executive Director. “When the value of various improvement grants, donations and in-kind donations of good and services is added up the total value of all the improvement at The Center for Wooden Boats this year ads up to more than $120,000.”
As I said when all this work started this spring, “The amazing generosity of our supporter and hundreds of volunteers who come down to clean and repair boats, repair the docks, stich new sails, teach sailing lessons, give free rides on our fleet of boats or just sit at the front desk with a welcome smile is what makes The Center for Wooden Boats what it is,” said Davis.
Previous Coverage of CWB Improvements
Buy holiday gifts for the boater in your life ….and help build CWB’s new education center at the same time
The West Marine on Westlake in Seattle is planning to donate 5% of Profits on Saturday December 7th to help build the new CWB Ed Center.
It’s not often you can do your holiday shopping AND do good for your favorite Maritime Museum. But this Saturday, December 7th, is that day.
The folks at the West Marine on Westlake Avenue in Seattle will be pulling out all the stop to help you find the perfect holiday gifts for the boaters on your list because they know part of the proceeds will go to help The Center for Wooden Boats build a new education center in Lake Union Park.
West Marine’s Holiday Community Day Program at the Westlake Store starts at 9am. And all day, on everything we buy, CWB gets a cut of the action.
What: West Marine Holiday Community Day for CWB
When: Saturday December 7th, 2013
9:00am to 08:00pm
(9:00am to 12:00pm Youth Cleat Box Building)
Where: West Marine
1275 Westlake Ave. North
Seattle, WA 98109
West Marine associates are always happy to help customers with their Christmas lists, but it is even more fun when some of the sales goes to a great cause such as building the new Education Center at CWB. Seattle’s maritime museum expects to break ground on the new Wagner Education Center early in 2014.
And this being about CWB, as you would expect….there’s a little woodworking for kids involved. If you come between 9am and Noon, your kids will have the opportunity to make their own wooden Cleat Box so they can practice that tricky cleat hitch. Before you know it, the kids will handle all the lines when you dock your boat better than you do. And at the end of the day, we’ll be just the much closer to breaking ground on the new Wagner Education Center at CWB.
So put it on your calendar. Invite your friends. Get your Christmas list ready for the boater in your life. Saturday, December 7th at the West Marine on Westlake in Seattle. Come for the holiday cheer, the deal, and to help build the new building at The Center for Wooden boats in Seattle.
The Education Center is the largest part of a $9.5 million dollar capital fundraising campaign that is also improving the organization’s existing floating facilities at the south end of Lake Union, will bring badly needed utility upgrades to CWB’s Workshop & Warehouse at the North end of the lake and will strengthen the museum’s financial stability. More information about CWB’s capital campaign can be found at www.cwb.org/campaign
SEATTLE – The Ed Monk Memorial Award Fund has been established to provide educational opportunities for professionals working in traditional maritime trades. The mission of the award is to further maritime professionals’ knowledge of traditional marine trades in other cultures. Study and research may include current and historical methods of boat construction using different materials, designs based on the functions to be served by the boats, materials available for construction and the state of technology.
The Center for Wooden Boats is seeking applications from qualified persons. Applications are due on or before April 1, 2014. The applicant should explain how the project will enrich the existing knowledge of the applicant and how the funds would be used. The budget for the grant may include transportation, housing, and other appropriate expenses. The background of the applicant in traditional marine trades and a list of references also are required.
“2011 CWB Monk Award winner Helder Parreira aboard a traditional Portuguese boat”
Decisions by the application committee will be made by or before April 15, 2014. Funds granted must be used within one year of the award. A written report of the activities and benefit derived from the experience must be submitted to CWB.
Grants awarded will total $1,500.
The award was named to honor Ed Monk, a prominent and respected boat designer and builder in the Northwest.
The Fund was established by John M. Goodfellow, who has participated in the hands-on-history activities at The Center for Wooden Boats. He is an advocate of preserving traditional maritime skills and wishes to encourage this through studies of those traditional skills being carried on beyond the applicants’ local regions and local knowledge.
The application committee consists of the donor and CWB Founding Director Dick Wagner. Applicants can be of any locality, wishing to study indigenous designs, materials and techniques of other areas.
For more information, contact Dick Wagner at CWB at (206) 382-2628.
The past recipients of the Ed Monk Award and their projects have been:
2001 – Jay Smith – Traditional Faroe Island boatbuilding
2002 – Seaton Gras – Traditional boats of Thailand
2003 – Marc Daniels – Traditional Aleut boatbuilding
2004 – Corey Freedman – Traditional Brazilian boatbuilding
2006 – V.W. Swan – Traditional Norwegian boatbuilding
2008 – Douglas Brooks – Traditional Okinawan boatbuilding
2010 – Mark Reuten – Teaching Traditional BC Native canoe building
2011 – Helder Parreira – Traditional Portuguese boatbuilding
2013 – Jesse Long – Traditional Basque boatbuilding
Seattle, WA – Bring the whole family, hop the streetcar, come to Seattle’s Lake Union waterfront on Saturday, November 30th for Greet the Season at Lake Union Park. Greet the Season at Lake Union Park features activities for all ages, including toy boat building, cookie decorating, card and ornament making, knot tying, other crafts, music and dance performances! It’s a one-of-a-kind family-oriented holiday event that is becoming one of Seattle’s favorite new holiday traditions.
Greet the Season at Lake Union Park is your opportunity to board historic vessels such as the tugboat Arthur Foss, steamship Virginia V and the Edwardian houseboat Lotus. The boats and boathouse at The Center for Wooden Boats, along with The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) will be jammed with activities for kids and with spots where tasty cider and cocoa can be found, cookies can be decorated, hand-crafted cards and ornaments can be made, and where festive tunes will be sung right up to the first appearance of the Christmas Ships.
The 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 online if there is something you don’t want to miss. For more information: http://www.atlakeunionpark.org/GreetTheSeason
MOHAI has regular admission 10am-5pm, with the Atrium open for free from 5pm-8pm. Inside MOHAI you’ll find Evergreen City Ballet doing excerpts from The Nutcracker, Village Caroler singing in the season and a fun photo booth. Other venues (Virginia V, Arthur Foss, Lightship “Swiftsure,” M/V Lotus, and The Center for Wooden Boats) are free to enter; donations are gratefully accepted and some activities (such as Toy Boat Building) have a suggested donation.
New this year; kids will decorate a Sailor’s Ditty Bag. Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society has partnered with the Catholic Seafarer’s Center of Seattle and United Port Ministries of Seattle to have kids decorate ditty bags for crew on boats who are away from home at the holidays. The ditty bags will be filled with donations from partner organizations and delivered to crew members during the month of December.
The Christmas Ships depart from the wharf at Lake Union Park at 7pm, stopping in the waterway for a performance by the Dickens Carolers from 7:15-7:35pm; the carolers can be clearly heard from the Park and from the deck of the Virginia V. Hot beverages will be available.
The event is sponsored by The At Lake Union Park Working Group (including The Center for Wooden Boats, The Virginia V Foundation, Northwest Seaport, Maritime Folknet, and m/v Lotus Foundation), The Museum of History & Industry, Buca de Beppo, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, Argosy Cruises and World Sports Grille on Westlake.
About Lake Union Park
Lake Union Park, located on the south end of Seattle’s central lake, is a new 12-acre park that provides much needed green space and access to the water in a growing neighborhood and city, and celebrates the region’s rich maritime, natural, and cultural heritage. Completed in 2010, Lake Union Park includes a model boat pond, restored shoreline habitat, a tree grove and picnic area, landscaped mounds, a 300-foot long interactive fountain along with Seattle’s maritime and heritage organizations including The Center for Wooden Boats, Northwest Seaport, Virginia V Foundation, The Museum of History & Industry, Discovery Modelers Education Center, Sailing Heritage Society, Seattle Flying Dragons, and United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. To learn more about Lake Union Park visit www.AtLakeUnionPark.org.