Lightship 83, now called Swiftsure, was built for the U.S. Lighthouse Service as the Blunts Reef, California lightship. She is the oldest surviving example of an America lightship with its original marine steam engine. She weathered severe storms and heavy damage from ramming by a steam schooner during her first six years of service. She later rescued 155 survivors from a stranded coastal steamer. Sails were used to help keep her on station in the early years. Replaced at Blunts Reef in 1930, she became the San Francisco lightship.
Swiftsure came under Coast Guard jurisdiction in 1939. In addition to her service at the entrance to San Francisco Bay until 1951, she took station at various times at the Columbia River bar, Umatilla Reef and the Swiftsure Bank; at the latter marking the approach to Puget Sound. She was manned by a Coast Guard crew in 1942, serving in the Navy as a patrol and guard boat at the entrance to San Francisco Bay until the end of the war. Swiftsure was decommissioned in 1960, after 56 years of continuous duty, and purchased by Northwest Seaport in 1969. She is open for visiting to limited portions of the ship while restoration continues.
Lightship Swiftsure is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
Categories: Sea - Lightships