Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Visit to the W. T. Preston Snagboat Museum

 Located next to the Anacortes Marina is the W.T. Preston Snagboat Museum. This is a bit different that most museums in that it is a real, steam-driven paddle wheel ship that was used for removing snags in the waters of the surrounding area.

As you can see, the snagboat is hard to miss! The 164' long ship was used for over 40 years by the Army Corps of Engineers to remove hazards to navigation in the San Juan Island area. Retired in 1981, the City of Anacortes was able to develop a museum for her preservation. 

 The museum consists of both the actual snagboat as well as a small building housing a number of interesting maritime exhibits of the area. Rick liked this dory since it reminded him of his very first boat that he had as a kid (many years ago!).

 Of course, Rick liked this antique engine that developed 4 hp. Used for many years, this give you an idea as to the old days of marine propulsion.

 Once we viewed the inside exhibits, it was time to actually board the snagboat. Orinda looks positively thrilled to checkout this old steam powered ship!

 Yes sir, this is real engineering says Orinda. She is fascinated with the steam powered pistons that drive the massive paddle wheel. Powered by 240 pounds per square inch of steam, this piston engine was actually part of an earlier ship that was built in 1914.

 First mate Orinda is ready to answer engine signals here in the engine room where the engine telegraphs await the Captain's order from the pilot house.

 Rick and Orinda found the ship to be very interesting and to be in great condition. Considering that many parts of the ship (engines, pumps, etc) are almost 100 years old, the condition spoke volumes as to the excellent maintenance that was provided by the crew.

 Here, Orinda and our on board guide, consider the giant derrick that was used to lift flotsam from the water. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the ship and its duties and added quite a bit to our visit.

 We had the run of almost all of the ship, including this catwalk leading to the bridge. Orinda did not relish being 3 stories above the ground, which explains why she is hugging the cabin wall above.

 You might wonder what kinds of things were removed by the snagboat. Here is a typical example of the kinds of snags they were looking for and removing. Imagine hitting this with your fiberglass yacht and you can quickly see why snag removal was so important.

 We had a great tour of the W.T. Preston and our volunteer tour guide really added to our experience. Here, he described how the stern paddle wheel piston worked, which was very interesting. This was an amazing visit and a true bargain at the $3 admission price.

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Another marine museum I did not know about that I have now put on the list. Great tour!