Steamer Virginia V Foundation 


The Foundation has maintained and operated the S.S. Virginia V providing a glimpse into the region's maritime past. By maintaining the Virginia V as a working vessel, a living museum, the Foundation provides the public a first-hand opportunity to experience Puget Sound's maritime and commercial transportation heritage. As a maritime community ambassador, the Foundation plays a leading role in the Northwest by developing partnerships with other maritime organizations and waterfront communities to provide the public the opportunity of experiencing travel on an historic and famous vessel.

Mission Statement
The mission of The Steamer Virginia V Foundation is to promote the Puget Sound's maritime heritage through the restoration, preservation, operation, and interpretation of the National Historic Landmark vessel S.S. Virginia V.
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Steamer Virginia V Foundation
PO Box 9566 
(206) 624-9119 

Heron Scott 
Executive Director 


Steamer Virginia V Foundation Programs

We are increasingly emphasizing historic educational trips and some very creative dockside events. These programs utilize the Virginia V to promote the awareness and understanding of the maritime history of western Washington State and educational opportunities for students. Exhibited on board are various displays explaining the operation of the steam engine and history of the vessel along with her sister ships and their importance to the area's history.         

Ballard Maritime Academy
This is an example of the exciting new programs we are developing.  This program gives the opportunity for sophomore, junior and senior students from the academy to come together on the water, experience life aboard a steam vessel and apply some of their classroom knowledge in a real world setting.           

The Foundation has broadened our activities by emphasizing community partnerships and events, and diversifying our activities beyond charters and expanding educational activities. In the past eighteen months the Foundation has donated $70,000.+ of inkind access in the form of cruises, dockside events and educational events. The reach of our community service extends out to over 40 groups in education, health, wellness, parks, arts, law enforcement, the maritime community and the general public.      

In the recent past, the Virginia V has partnered with: Ballard Maritime Academy, Olympia Harbor Days, Kitsap Harbor Days, Northwest Seaport, The Center for Wooden Boats, Lake Union Rotary, Seattle Youth Symphony, MOHAI, Foss Waterway Seaport, NW Maritime Center, Farmboat and Wooden Boat Foundation, NPS, Seafair Special Peoples Cruises and others.  

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Recent success includes securing additional grants.4Culure Landmark Grant & Heritage Sustained Grants – Totaling over $21,500       

Washington State Heritage Capital Projects - $222,170
One of 27 Non-profits approved for funding by the Washington State Historical Society.  Matching funds were required.         

Biggest Challenge In Coming Year
Virginia V must be hauled out for inspection every two years to meet US Coast Guard requirements to carry passengers.  During the April 2011 haul-out the Marine Surveyor identified significant soft wood in the ship’s stem, forefoot, keel and forefoot knee as well as numerous hull planks and frames.  The Coast Guard has required this restoration take place in 2013 if the ship is to continue to take out passengers.  The project will replace all the affected wood in two haul-outs scheduled for February and fall 2013.  The work is being conducted in two haul-outs to: meet the Coast Guard deadline; minimize the time the ship is out of the water; and to allow time for necessary fundraising.      

Ongoing Challenge 
Maintaining, operating and presenting to the public a ninety-one year old, wooden, steam powered, vessel that has outlived hundreds of her contemporaries.  The only other wooden steam powered vessel from the Mosquito Fleet era in service in the US is the much smaller Sabino, owned and operated by Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, one of the country's most established and finest maritime museums.  The Foundation tackles this effort independently as it is not part of a larger institution. 


Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2014 $250,000.00support ongoing maintenance of the Virginia V and the expansion of their youth maritime program with Ballard High School, to be named for Mr. Birkenfeld.


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