Duwamish (fireboat)

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Duwamish fire boat.jpg
Duwamish fireboat at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle
United States
Name: Duwamish
Builder: Richmond Beach Shipbuilding Co.
Launched: 1909
Out of service: 1985
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Tonnage: 322 tons (gross)
Length: 120 ft (37 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Depth: 9.6 ft (2.9 m)
Installed power: Compound marine steam engines
Speed: 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph)
Duwamish (fireboat)
Originally the Seattle fireboat Duwamish was built with a 'ram' bow.jpg
Originally the Seattle fireboat Duwamish was built with a ram bow.
Duwamish (fireboat) is located in Washington (state)
Duwamish (fireboat)
Coordinates47°37′41″N 122°20′11″W / 47.62818°N 122.33652°W / 47.62818; -122.33652Coordinates: 47°37′41″N 122°20′11″W / 47.62818°N 122.33652°W / 47.62818; -122.33652
ArchitectRichmond Beach Shipbuilding Co.
NRHP reference #89001448
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 30, 1989[1]
Designated NHLJune 30, 1989[2]

Duwamish was one of the most powerful fireboats in the United States several times over her 75-year working life.[2] She is the second oldest vessel designed to fight fires in the US, after Edward M. Cotter, in Buffalo, New York.[3]


Duwamish was built in 1909 for the Seattle Fire Department in Richmond Beach, Washington, just north of Seattle.[4] She was powered by "double vertical (compound) marine steam engines" capable of driving her at 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph).[3] She was equipped with three American LaFrance steam piston pumps rated at a capacity of 3,000 US gallons per minute (0.189 m3/s) each. She was originally designed to ram and sink burning wooden vessels, as a last resort, and was equipped with a ram bow for doing so.

On July 30, 1914, Duwamish was involved in fighting the fire on the Grand Trunk Pacific dock. In the 1930s, as a cost-saving measure, the Seattle City Council directed that Duwamish be used as a tug to push the city's garbage scow.[5]

After an upgrade in 1949, the pumps delivered a total of 22,800 US gallons per minute (1.438 m3/s).[6][7] This capacity was only exceeded in 2003 by the Los Angeles Fire Department's Warner Lawrence, which delivers 38,000 US gallons per minute (2.397 m3/s).[citation needed]

Duwamish is 120 feet (36.6 m) long with a 28-foot (8.5 m) beam and a 9.6-foot (2.9 m) draft.[4] Her registered gross tonnage is 322 short tons (292 t).

Current status[edit]

Retired in 1985, Duwamish was purchased by the Puget Sound Fireboat Foundation.[8][9] She is permanently moored at the Historic Ships Wharf near the Museum of History & Industry at South Lake Union Park in Seattle.[10] Visitors may board the vessel when volunteer staff is available.[9]

Duwamish was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.[2][11]

She is a city landmark.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c "DUWAMISH (Fireboat)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  3. ^ a b Delgado, James P. (1988). "Duwamish Fireboat: National Historic Landmark Study". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  4. ^ a b "National Park Service - Maritime Heritage Program: HISTORIC SHIPS TO VISIT". National Park Service. 2006-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  5. ^ Newell, Robert G. (1957). Pacific Tugboats. Seattle: Superior Publishing.
  6. ^ "Fireboat Duwamish history". Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  7. ^ "Fireboat Duwamish the boat". Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  8. ^ "Puget Sound Fireboat Foundation". Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  9. ^ a b Hsu, Charlotte (18 August 2006). "A new life for an old boat?". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  10. ^ Broom, Jack (29 December 2012). "History afloat outside MOHAI". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  11. ^ Delgado, James P. (9 July 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Duwamish / Fireboat Duwamish" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22. and
    "Accompanying 10 photos, exterior and interior, from 1988 and 1929". Retrieved 2012-08-29.

External links[edit]