A brief history of LT-495

A brief history of LT-495

LT-495 renamed the "Enchanter", Puget Sound, WA, 1971

LT-495 renamed the "Enchanter", Puget Sound, WA, 1971

$76,000, where she joined a fleet of five other Miki-class tugs already owned by Foss.


Foss renamed the vessel Leslie Foss and used her to tow rail barges between Seattle and Bellingham, and on various Alaska routes. By 1958, she was part of the Coast Lumber Run, barging lumber from Washington, Oregon, and northern California to southern California.


In 1969, the Leslie Foss was sold to a private individual, Robert Martin of Gig Harbor, who upgraded the interior, including the galley and the crew quarters to accommodate 15 persons comfortably. Martin renamed the vessel Enchanter and used her as a yacht until 1971 when she was sold to Capt. Jug Nolze for use as a towboat again.


Renamed the Polar Navigator, she plied the waters of Puget

Sound and Alaska as a charter of Northland Marine Lines.


In 1976, the Polar Navigator was seized by a local shipyard for non-payment of repair bills and subsequently sold to Robert Sinkey for use as a pleasure craft and houseboat docked at Olympia, WA.


Sinkey sold the tug in 1979 to Western Sea Resources of San Francisco who renamed her the Western Sea 1 and converted her into a fish tender. At one time the she sank in Seattle under the railroad bridge and was salvaged by her owner.


In 1988 she was sold by to Delaware Puget Sound Corp. And in 1991 she was sold to Treesearch Corp.


By 2000, the Enchantress was owned by a Richard Carnes of Sedro-Woolley, WA, who had her towed to Anacortes. He

illegally moored her on a piling from the old sawmill where he misjudged the tidal fluctuation, causing her to bottom out on the floor of Fidalgo Bay which permanently impaled her on another piling.


Tragically, Carnes was killed by his business partner in a dispute over the debt on the Enchantress. That partner later committed suicide.


Removal of the Enchantress became part of the high priority clean up of Fidalgo Bay by the Washington Department of Ecology, which said the boat contained toxic materials that should not be in the bay.


On September 23, 2008,

the Enchantress was scrapped and removed from Fidalgo Bay. However, her nameplate is still prominently displayed in the loft of the Port of Anacortes’ Transit Shed.

LT-495 was originally built of pine and oak in 1944, one of five “Miki” class tugs built by Minneford Yacht Yard in New York during World War II. During the war, the 127-foot-long, 28-foot-wide tug was manned by the U.S. Coast Guard. She was surplused after the war and purchased in 1948 by Baltimore Towing, renamed the John Michael and used for general towing on the East Coast until 1950. 


In 1950, she was purchased by Kotzebue Oil Company and used for general barge towing between Puget Sound and Alaska. A year later, the John Michael was caught up in a legal battle between Kotzebue Oil and Ocean Fisheries over loss of cargo precipitated by bad weather on a trip between Alaska and Seattle. She was ordered for sale by federal courts and was purchased by Foss Launch and Tug Company in 1951 for 

Site built and maintained by Bob Martin. For any questions or comments about LT-495, please email me at rdmartin(at)alaska.net