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3805 Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

(253) 857-9344

Working to Preserve Gig Harbors Historic Working Waterfront this non-profit boatyard located in historic Gig Harbor, Washington is the birthplace of the Thunderbird sailboat.

Salmon, Seiners, & Life on the Sea

The avalon project: Salmon, Seiners, & Life on the sEA

Opening May 27, 2018 at Harbor History Museum


Avalon, constructed at Skansie Ship Building Company in 1929, is one of the most recognizable boats designed and built in the South Sound. In 2015, after years of commercial fishing, Avalon sunk in Hood Canal. Declared a derelict vessel, she was destined for demolition when Gig Harbor BoatShop and the Department of Natural Resources partnered to save her from the wrecking ball. Instead of being crushed, Avalon was thoughtfully deconstructed, which allowed the BoatShop to recover artifacts that will be featured in an exhibit titled "Salmon, Seiners, & Life on the Sound." Items include Avalon’s iconic wheelhouse which was salvaged and restored at the BoatShop and will serve as the centerpiece of this compelling exhibit. Dismantling Avalon piece by piece also allowed the BoatShop to develop accurate construction plans detailed enough to build a Skansie purse seiner, significant because there are no known plans for this vessel.

The BoatShop partnered with local non-profits Harbor History Museum, Skansie NetShed Foundation, and Harbor WildWatch to develop a compelling and comprehensive exhibit featuring artifacts salvaged from Avalon, a story skiff built by BoatShop volunteers, a representation of a seine net with different species of salmon, and more. The exhibit is scheduled to debut in Gig Harbor at Harbor History Museum in spring 2018.

Thanks to our exhibit supporters

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On the afternoon of March 4, 2015 the Port of Port Townsend moved the Avalon from the storage yard to the large, haulout washdown pad and blocked the vessel upright. Members of the Port Townsend Shipwright's Co-op (PTSC) removed Avalon's mast, boom, rigging, and the forward face of the wheelhouse, all wheelhouse windows and doors, and misc hardware.

Avalon Deconstruction Report

"One of the best-known fishing boats ever built in Gig Harbor has met a bittersweet fate.  In March 2015, the purse seiner Avalon, built in the Skansie shipyard, was dismantled in Port Townsend. But even as she was torn apart, every board and bit of hardware was documented by the Gig Harbor BoatShop."   read more ...