Posted by: nwseaport | January 19, 2012

Arthur Under Cover

If you visit the Historic Ships’ Wharf at Lake Union Park, you will notice that the historic Tugboat Arthur Foss has been wrapped tightly in plastic like a frozen burrito.  A volunteer crew recently installed the winter cover over the National Historic Landmark to protect the 122-year-old vessel from one of its most dangerous threat — rain!Arthur Foss under cover

Shielding the Douglas fir of the wooden boat from moisture helps prevent the perfect conditions for “dry rot” fungus and is one of the most important steps in preserving the vessel for the future.  Wayne Palsson, a Northwest Seaport volunteer, likens dry rot to “cold fire.”  “Extremely damaged wood looks like it has been burned and charred, it just falls apart under any pressure, and overtime, it spreads like fire.”

Arthur Foss interior under cover

Northwest Seaport President Shannon Fitzgerald, along with the help of George Stausser, Jim Flies, and Joe Shickich installed the framework to support the plastic, and then Shannon, George, Wayne, and John Endresen spent a day draping four sheets of shrink-wrap plastic over the boat.  It was like raising a tent.  They had to arrange the plastic to easily unroll from the top, then fasten the pieces to each other and to the sides of the vessel.  Then it was shrinking time.  Wayne Palsson used an industrial heat gun to shrink the plastic to the tension of a drum — that way most water and snow will easily shed off of the cover.

The cover will be on the Arthur Foss until late spring when Seattle’s Rain Festival should end.