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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Swiftsure.
Swiftsure 01.jpg
Lightship No. 83, also known as Swiftsure, 2007
United States
  • Lightship No. 83
  • Lightship WAL-508
Launched: 1904
Acquired: c. 1905
Decommissioned: 18 July 1960
Out of service: 1960
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Displacement: 668 tons
Length: 129 ft (39 m)
Beam: 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Installed power: 2 × boilers
Propulsion: Compound reciprocating steam engine; Sail
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Lightship No. 83 Relief
Swiftsure is located in Washington (state)
Location Listed in Kirkland, Washington; now moored in Seattle
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Built 1904
Architect New York Ship Co.; US Lighthouse Establishment
NRHP Reference # 75001852[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 23 April 1975[1]
Designated NHL 11 April 1989[3]
Designated SEATL March 7, 1977[2]

Lightship No. 83, also known as Swiftsure, is a lightship launched in Camden, New Jersey, in 1904 and now moored in Seattle, Washington. She steamed around the tip of South America to her first station at Blunts Reef in California, where she saved 150 people when their ship ran aground in dense fog. Formerly known as Relief, Number 83 had numerous names on her sides, all of which indicated the location of her station. Swiftsure refers to the Swiftsure Bank near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Washington from Vancouver Island. She also guided ships near Umatilla Reef and the Columbia River Bar.

Swiftsure is one of the oldest lightships in the country and the only one to have her original steam engines. She is 129 feet (39 m) long, with a beam of 28 feet 6 inches (8.69 m) and a draft of 12 feet 6 inches (3.81 m). Her displacement is 668 tons. Her aids to navigation include a 1,000 watt primary light, a 140-decibel Diaphone horn, and a 1,000-pound (450 kg) foredeck fog bell.

The ship was decommissioned in 1960, and purchased by Northwest Seaport in 1969. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989,[3][4] and is on the Washington State Heritage Register. She is moored on Lake Union, in Seattle, Washington, for restoration.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. "Landmarks and Designation". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Lightship No. 83 RELIEF". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  4. Delgado, James P. (9 July 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form / Lightship No. 83 "Blunts" "San Francisco" "Relief" / Lightship "Relief"" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-17.  and
    "Accompanying 6 photos, from 1988 and undated" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 

External links