Pintail was built in Bellingham, WA in 1948 for Ward’s Cove Packing. She is one of eight sister ships that Ward’s Cove Packing built of the same design during that time period (all named after birds). These boats were built very heavily and designed as salmon tenders in Alaska. As a tender she delivered necessary supplies to the fishing fleet and and transported salmon to the cannery. This enabled the fishing boats to keep working and not leave the fishing grounds.
Pintail and her sister ships, built with heavy steel and with a very shallow draft, excelled at working in wild rivers where sandbars frequently blocked passage to ships with deeper drafts. She housed four tireless crew members who worked around the clock to keep fishing boats and canneries going strong. A good-natured sense of competition (and creative practical jokes) earned Pintail the reputation as a key player in the industry. Pintail tendered salmon on the Kenai River, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska from 1948 to 1993.
In 1993, Ward’s Cove Packing departed the Kenai River and Pintail was brought to Seattle to become the landing craft that she is today. The retrofit included the addition of strong boarding ramps, a new deck crane, a new work deck, new bulwarks, reconfigured water-tight compartments, and a certificate of inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard. Her first job as a landing craft was to transport the robotic orca used in the Warner Bros. movie, “Free Willy 2.” She served as the movie crew’s platform for everything from staging special effects (such as circling a shipwreck with flaming propane lines to simulate a flaming oil spill) to housing catered picnics for the movie crew.
Over the years, the Pintail has served many roles and clientele, but one thing has remained constant: her hardworking crew’s commitment to excellent service and creative problem-solving has kept her in a prominent place among the workboats of the Pacific Northwest.
A Family on the water
Captains Kevin & Kendra Martin & Deckhand-in-Training Will Martin
Both Kevin and Kendra are licensed captains and have a long history working on boats around the world. Their careers began on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and it wasn’t long before they found themselves heading to the Amazon, Antarctica, Indian Ocean, Arctic and many places in between. Their years of captaining boats, arranging logistics in ice-filled waters, becoming jacks-of-all trades, and managing large teams have given them not only sea stories but also fond memories too numerous to list.
They are grateful to now call the community of Friday Harbor home and have their liveaboard boat moored just across the dock from Pintail. Their repertoire of charts on the bridge is a much smaller stack than years ago, but they revel in the opportunity to be underway most days and still return home each night. For the sailor life, it is the best of both worlds and a wonderful way to raise their son.