Lowry signs bill to assist historic ships Virginia V and the Lady Washington

SEATTLE - In a ceremony aboard the Virginia V (5) on Seattle's Lake Union, Gov. Mike Lowry today signed into law a bill that will encourage private financial assistance for the historic ships Virginia V and the Lady Washington. Lowry was joined during the signing of House Bill 2509 by Secretary of State Ralph Munro and other supporters of recreational boating and historic preservation.

The new law will encourage boat owners to contribute an extra amount to their annual vessel license fee to be used specifically for restoration of the two historic ships.

"The Lady Washington and the Virginia V are integral parts of our state's rich maritime history and deserve preservation and display," Lowry said.

The 73-year-old Virginia V, the last of Puget Sound's famed Mosquito Fleet, must undergo an overhaul to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements. The ship carries the designation of National Historic Landmark. The Lady Washington is an authentic replica of the 18th century brig captained by explorer Robert Gray on his expeditions to the Pacific Northwest and is used as an educational attraction in Grays Harbor. Both vessels have met their operating costs, but they have not been able to keep up with financial needs related to repair and renovation.

"It is our hope that every boat owner in the state will 'adopt' these vessels through this program" said Munro, who requested this legislation. As secretary of state, Munro directs the Washington State Archives and is an ex-officio board member of the Washington State Historical Society. He also co-chaired the state's Centennial celebration in 1989.

Participation in the historic ship projects will be completely voluntary. Annual registration renewal notices mailed by the state Department of Licensing will include a check-off where boat owners could indicate they have provided an additional amount for the organizations operating the vessels. There are some 243,600 marine vessels currently registered in the state of Washington.


For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.