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One of the best things about Maritime Fest is that EVERYBODY can Walk the Docks and Board the Boats.

Take the opportunity to meet Skippers and Crew and learn about LIFE ON BOARD!

On some vessels you’ll see “M.V.” It means “Motor Vessel”
Others say “S.S.” That stands for “Sailing Ship”

Visiting Vessels include:

Virginia 5  on Saturday Children under 5: Free! Kids 5-10 $5 Adults (11+) $10

Departure Schedule: 2:00pm & 4:00pm (Saturday Only)

10:30-6:00pm boat open for tours (Sunday)

The S.S. VIRGINIA V was built in 1922 for the West Pass Transportation Company to carry freight and passengers from the communities on Vashon Island to Seattle and Tacoma.Once part of a large fleet of vessels that served waterfront towns all over Puget Sound, the VIRGINIA V is the last operational woodenhull, steam powered vessel from the famous “Mosquito Fleet” . By the 1950s, she had become Seattle’s favorite excursion and charter vessel and has remained in almost continuous operation in the years since.  In the 1970s, both Seattle and Tacoma designated the VIRGINIA V as a City Landmark and in 1992 she was listed as a National Historic Landmark Vessel. Also in the mid-70s the VIRGINIA V Foundation was formed as a non-profit heritage organization with the mission of preserving this historic treasure for generations to come. In the 1990s the VIRGINIA V underwent an extensive 6.5 million dollar restoration. With gleaming wood, a new certified boiler, and a U.S. Coast Guard Passenger Boat License she is ready to steam into the 21st century. Today, an excursion onboard the VIRGINIA V captures the romance of the fabled days of the Mosquito Fleet era, evoking all the sights and sounds of when steam ship passage was a way of life throughout Puget Sound. The VIRGINIA V’s current home is on Lake Union in Seattle, Washington.

“Verite” (Sea Scouts)
38 ft. Sailing and Rowing Gig
Built in Tacoma, the Verite is a replica of an 18th century French longboat. Youth learn teamwork and leadership in the Verite rowing program. Aboard the Verite, Tacoma youth have participated in both local and international competitions, and some have gone to Ireland, France, Denmark, Wales, and Italy for international longboat competitions. “Women of the Water” also row or work on the Verite on Monday evenings at the Sea Scout Base on Dock Street. Inquire at the Sea Scout Info Booth if you are interested in being part of the “WOW-ers”.

M. V. Charles N. Curtis Ship 110 (Sea Scouts)
78 ft. Motor Vessel, U.S. Coast Guard Licensed

Program for youth was established in Tacoma in 1924. Participating youth learn leadership and teamwork plus maritime skills — electronic navigation, radar, engineering, small boat handling, and sailing. Youth learn self-confidence and reliance, and a lifetime of skills and memories while broadening their horizon of opportunity.
Meet Mondays 6-9 PM at Sea Base
Saturday work parties and underway training 9 AM – 4 PM.
Summer-long cruises in the San Juan & Gulf Islands, and Canada.
Inquire at the Sea Scout Info Booth if you are interested in joining the Sea Scout program aboard the Curtis.

“The Plover” (oil skimmer)

“The Coot” (boom boat)

“Joe” (tug boat)

Originally built for Foss Tugboat Company, the “Joe” is now owned by Kae and Robin Patterson of Gig Harbor. You see her all over Puget Sound delivering floats built on the Wheeler Osgood Waterway, guiding visiting Tall Ships or out on the water with friends on a beautiful summer evening.

“Clydesdale” (tug boat)
Owned by Wendall Stroud, the “Clydesdale has a steel hull and was built in 1977. She’s moored on the Wheeler Osgood Waterway.

“Sandman” (historic tug)
Highlights of the Life of Sand Man
1910 – 1987 Commercially operated tugboat / towboat throughout Puget Sound; always locally owned and based in Olympia
1975 Sand Man began racing in Olympia’s annual Labor Day tugboat races
1987 – 2005 Restoration of the boat (minor work continues)
1998 Listed on the National Register of Historical Places – Vessels
2005 – present After being out of the water for nearly seven years, Sand Man was re-launched on Sept. 1, 2005. Since then, she has been operated as a floating museum at Percival Landing, dedicated to the maritime heritage of Olympia and South Puget Sound.

“Comanche” (historic Navy tug)
During WW II the U.S. Navy ordered large heavy duty ocean-going tugs, to tow naval vessels damaged and disabled in combat. Eighty-nine ATA tugs were built by end of the war. After commissioning in Texas, ATA-202 proceeded via the Panama Canal to the Pacific reporting for duty in support of the Okinawa campaign at Ulithi atoll. ATA-202 was awarded one battle star for towing battle-damaged ships out of the line of fire to U.S. Navy facilities for repair. She returned to the United States in September, 1945. ATA-202 began duty in the 11th Naval District at San Diego towing various US Navy vessels and barges as needed. She was reassigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet’s Texas Group in March 1946 and named USS Wampanoag on July 16, 1948. She was later laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

In February of 1959, USS Wampanoag was loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard by the U.S. Navy. They commissioned ATA-202 as the USCG Cutter Comanche WATA-202 and later changed this to WMEC-202. On 1 June 1969, the Navy permanently transferred Comanche to the Coast Guard

Comanche was first home-ported in California USCG District 11 and later USCG District 12, where she was assigned to law enforcement and search and rescue patrols as well as the re-supply of remote light stations and lightships. She became a well known Coast Guard vessel along the Pacific coast, a standard bearer of the Coast Guard’s motto Semper Paratus – “always ready”, rendering assistance to numerous ships, fishing boats and recreational vessels and Federal law enforcement service.

In 1967, Comanche was stationed at Corpus Christi, Texas, performing many of the same services it rendered in the Pacific. She also did piracy patrols off the coast of Cuba and South America, intercepting stolen boats. She returned to the west coast in 1969, home ported at Eureka, California until she was decommissioned on 30 January 1980.

After a decade of sitting idle on the Sacramento River in California, Comanche was acquired by Dave Howard of Toledo, Washington for private commercial tug service in the early 1990s and moved to the Puget Sound of Washington State. Comanche became one of the largest commercial tugs on the Puget Sound, towing a wide variety of commercial vessels from Mexico to Alaska.

On September 11, 2007, Comanche 202 Foundation was granted exempt status by the IRS and in October, vessel Comanche was donated to the Comanche 202 Foundation which is restoring the vessel through the work of volunteers, many of whom actively served on her in their younger days.

The Tacoma Fire Boat
Under the US Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Tacoma Fire Department received $750,000 to refit the city’s fireboat Commencement. Art Anderson Associates teamed with BMT Nigel Gee of the United Kingdom to provide engineering design and consultation for the renovation and refit of the vessel.

The Commencement is one of two fireboats operating in the Tacoma Fire Department. The vessel was built in 1982 by Vosper Hovermarine as a multipurpose fiberglass surface effect ship (SES). The vessel has two 445bhp marine diesel engines powering two 19-inch propellers and a 285bhp marine diesel engine that provides power to six 24-inch aluminum alloy fans, which, when engaged, maintain an air cushion beneath the vessel. This cushion allows the Commencement to achieve speeds of up to 30 knots and maintain a stable ride in choppy seas. Since 1983, the vessel has provided fire suppression, search and rescue, evacuation, hazardous materials response and emergency medical service for the city. The Commencement’s service area includes the Port of Tacoma, the sixth-largest container port in the United States.

The Tacoma Police Boat

The Pierce County Sheriff Boat

Army Reserve Landing Craft
Go to the Beach at Thea’s Park and talk with members of the Army Reserve while cruising the Foss Waterway. Ask them to tell you the history of their vessels.

Various other classic wood boats and tugs
NOTE: The list of participating boats is subject to change without notice.