The Center for Wooden Boats - West Wind Hardwood

At the encouragement of friends, Jan and I visited the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) at South Lake Union (Seattle, WA) in February 2014.  This was a quiet Sunday morning; chilled by the previous evening’s dusting of snow and yet, it is a hub of hands-on learning year-round. Boat rentals, classes and workshops, field trips, lectures, and opportunities for direct experience on the water and at the docks are just a few of the things you’ll find when you visit.

Photos by Jan T. Nielsen, February 2014

CWB is a maritime museum made up of local folks, tourists, young people, adults and families, and our many members, supporters volunteers; all brought together by a shared passion or interest for boating, maritime skills, or for the sheer love of the water.

Some programs, such as boat rentals, have associated fees, and others have suggested donations but we walked the docks, exploring the boats and browsing the exhibits which are always free of charge; a very cool organization that supports the preservation of wooden boats.

And really, other than bringing your attention to the existence of this sweet maritime gem, I wanted to highlight that CWB offers a great website.  It covers all aspects of the Center in a very orderly informed manner.  There are videos, a blog, an event calendar, stories and a newsletter; extremely entertaining too boot!

CWB is a living museum – a place where you are encouraged to touch, build, sail, and learn. They have a fleet of rental boats which includes classic wooden sail and row boats.

Near and dear to our heart is the Wagner Education Center; a legacy project nearing completion. Designed by award-winning Olson Kundig Architects, the 9200 square-foot Wagner Education Center and Bill Garden Boat Shop will help CWB meet the growing public demand for its programs. In 1977, on the back porch of a Lake Union houseboat, a group of people imagined a place where anyone could come to learn, build, sail and play on the water. Forty-one years later, The Center thrives; serving more than 100,000 people a year. The new 2-story building will augment CWB’s existing floating structures by providing additional classroom and exhibit spaces. The first floor features the Bill Garden Boat Shop where boats will be built and maintained and where traditional maritime skills can be showcased. This is such a wonderful opportunity to offer tribute to the designer and friend of CWB. Bill was a true lad of the sea and an encouraging mentor to Jan.

Bill Garden – Toad’s Landing – January 2005

Bill Garden – Toad’s Landing in his Spit and Polish Shop– August 2005. Same Jacket……….Different Cap

Washington’s Lake Union is a protected body of water right in the heart of Downtown Seattle and the only water access to the Center for Wooden Boats.  With few public access points, a canal and Hiram M. Christendom (Ballard) locks join the lake to Puget Sound.  One hundred years ago, the Locks and Ship Canal were built by Seattle and The Corps of Engineers as a commercial navigation route to the developing City of Seattle.  Today Ballard Locks is the Nation’s busiest with nearly 50,000 vessels transiting per year.

Commercial and Pleasure boats alike make good use of Ballard Locks – February 2014

In addition – and here’s something I hadn’t realized – more than 500,000 salmon migrates through these locks.  That’s significant!

Nicely done Seattle!

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