Olympia Harbor Days RTA members only Potluck

posted Sunday, August 27, 2017 by | no responses |

Please join hosts Skip and Marty Suttmeier on board Tug Galene for the traditional Harbor Days Friday evening RTA members only Potluck.   Bring a dish to share with 4 or more (salad, entree or dessert) Coffee and lemonade will be provided.  Potluck will start at 6 pm on Friday September 1st.



RTA Fall Rendezvous

posted Thursday, September 15, 2016 by | no responses |


photo by Linda Evans


The 7th annual RTA Fall Rendezvous at Dockton State Park in Quartermaster Harbor, Vashon.
is scheduled for  the weekend of Oct. 7th, 8th and 9th,  Moorage is $25 to $30 a night depending on boat length.

This is one of our favorite gatherings, laid back and relaxing, an opportunity to hang out with your fellow RTA members and talk tug.  The location is beautiful and the weather, while a bit unpredictable, has been kind to us in the past.  There will be a potluck on Saturday night in the park’s picnic area, please bring something to share and beverage of choice.

Even if you don’t have a tug, come on down on Saturday to walk the docks and check out the boats.

A big thank you to Skip and Marty Suttmeier  for stepping up to organize this years fall rendezvous!

Any questions email Skip – MikitugLT@gmail.com


A message from Olympia Harbor Days!

posted Tuesday, August 02, 2016 by | no responses |

Ahoy – this is Carol, the new Executive Director of Olympia Harbor Days, now presented by the Olympia Kiwanis!

We are only 5 weeks away from celebrating our 43rd year!!  We have added lots of newness and excitement and we hope you and your tug will join us.

I am sending out this last invite to all tug owners listed in the RTA Roster and any other tugs or work boats on the RTA mailing list.   Right now we have 21 tugs spiffing up, fueling up, and getting ready to head down to the south sound for one of the few last remaining Vintage Tugboat Show and Races in the Puget Sound.  They range from 16’ to 143’.   Is yours one of them?  If so, and you have submitted your registration, we thank you!!!

If you have not yet registered and want to join the fleet, you can do so on our website www.HarborDays.com under the Tugboat Info Tab!  All registered crews get an invite for wonderful Lucky Eagle Casino Salmon Dinner at the Skippers Dinner Saturday (9/3) evening at 7 pm.  Each registered skipper gets a goodie bad with one fleece vest, hat and other fun stuff.

Registrations need to be in by August 15th so we have time to prepare for your arrival.  If you decide to attend after that date, please email me or call me at the number below so I know to be on the lookout for your paperwork!

Over the weekend thousands upon thousands will enjoy touring your tugs and talking with you and your crew about your tug.  We host Sunday races for three classes of tugs with awards for the winners!  And of course you must be in attendance to stand a chance at becoming our  44th  Logo Boat for 2017.  Last year, Patrón attended for the first time and became the 2016 Logo Boat (see logo above)!!  So you never know, but you must be in attendance to be in the running.

We hope you will attend and share the history of your tug.  Show is open to all tugs but you can opt out of racing if you choose.  Our press release is attached for your info or to share.

We hope to see you in September!!    Toot Toot


Carol Riley, Executive Director
NEW:  info@HarborDays.com
Cell 360-556-0498

Olympia Harbor Days
NEW: PO Box 2875
Olympia, WA 98507

Like us on Facebook at Olympia Harbor Days!

Tacoma Maritime Festival – July 15, 16, and 17, 2016

posted Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by | no responses |

Invitation to a summer gathering

Please join us at the Tacoma Maritime Festival – July 15, 16, and 17, 2016

This event is open to the public and includes the following:

  • Three nights free moorage for tugs and work boats (Friday thru Sunday)
  • Wine tasting on Saturday evening aboard the Confer
  • Free breakfast Sunday at Rock the Dock
  • A chance to have great RTA conversations
  • Tours of the Thea Foss Waterway Museum

Contact:  Vern Moore, Dockmaster (VernonM@agmarine.com or 253 905-3349).  Boat length is needed for dock assignment.

If you can’t bring your boat, feel free to stop in and say hello.  And, pass along this information to other tug and work boat owners who may be interested in joining our group. 

Other questions?  Contact Rex Hasart at 253 495-0879 or thasart2@msn.com.


RTA Fall Rendezvous at Dockton Oct. 10-11th

posted Tuesday, September 15, 2015 by | no responses |


Back by popular demand, the annual RTA Fall Rendezvous at Dockton State Park in Quartermaster Harbor, Vashon.  This will be our 6th year at Dockton,
So mark your calendars for the second weekend of October. (Oct. 10-11)  Moorage is $25 to $30 a night depending on boat length.

This is one of our favorite gatherings, laid back and relaxing, an opportunity to hang out with your fellow RTA members and talk tug.  The location is beautiful and the weather, while a bit unpredictable, has been kind to us in the past.  There will be a potluck on Saturday night in the park’s picnic area, please bring something to share and beverage of choice.

Even if you don’t have a tug, come on down on Saturday to walk the docks and check out the boats.

A big thank you to Skip and Marty Suttmeier  and VJ Suttmeier for stepping up to organize this years fall rendezvous!

Any questions contact Skip:
call: 206-459-7521
email: mikitug@frontier.com

Maggie B – Olympia Harbor Days 2015

posted Friday, September 11, 2015 by | no responses |

Story by Chuck Fowler, photos by Karla Fowler

An extraordinary act of sportsmanship, or more appropriately “tugsmanship”, took place yesterday afternoon {Sun., Sept. 6] toward the end of the Small Tug class race at Harbor Days.   It was a fitting, heart-rending epilogue to Molly Gilmore’s great HD advance story in Friday’s Weekend insert about the late Mike Buse and his family tug, Maggie B.    The tug was selected as this year’s honored “logo” tug, and featured on the Harbor Days promotional poster and all other marketing materials.


Mike wanted to win another small tug race in Maggie at last year’s 2014 HD event.   But he didn’t make it.   At 66 years old, he had a sudden, serious stroke on the dock in Gig Harbor while he, his wife Penny and son “Tug” were on their way to Olympia.  He died few days later in the hospital in Tacoma on Labor Day, exactly a year ago today [Mon., Sept. 7].


So this year with Tug at the wheel, Maggie B. was in the lead 300 yards from the finish line when smoke started coming out of the engine room and she slowed to a stop.

At the time it looked like something serious might have happened, and both the second place tug Cedar King from Olympia, and the and third place tug Atka from Eagle Harbor, stopped racing and came to Maggie’s aid.     In addition, the Thurston County Sheriff’s and Port of Olympia’s patrol and fireboat Integrity, and the Olympia Harbor patrol boat, also responded to the emergency.


After it was determined that there was no actual engine fire, and no one was injured, Gary Sanford, the captain of the Dunlap Towing Company’s Cedar King, secured lines on the disabled tug and proceeded to tow her over the finish line, followed by Atka with skipper Alan Glaser at the wheel.   As a result of this generous act of tug racing sportsmanship, Maggie B. was declared the official winner of the Small Tug race, followed by Cedar King in second place, and Atka third.  And Cedar King towed Maggie B. back to the dock at Percival Landing .

This spontaneous act demonstrated what true competition, in its best and most humane form, means.   It also showed how much respect and reverence the tugboaters, who have participated in the Harbor Days festival and races for more than 40 years, have for each other and for the event itself.   In so many ways, they are personally, professionally and emotionally tightly-bonded as a “family”.   And it makes the rest of us who do not own and race tugboats, but have helped as Harbor Days volunteers through the years, proud to be friends of these incredible people.


– Chuck Fowler

Penny, Tug and Mike Buse – Harbor Days 2013

photo by Juliann Tallino

Exciting Harbor Days News

posted Tuesday, July 14, 2015 by | no responses |

We”ve just received the following email from Shelly Lively, the person who works so hard all year long to make Harbor Days a great event for everyone.  This is Shelly’s last Harbor Days, lets try and make it a big one.  This is our biggest party/rendezvous, and moorage is free!

“Great news from Harbor Days, we now have power to the docks and a brand new pump out. Long awaited but its finally here!
More good news, we are changing our t-shirt vendor to our vest vendor. The Maggie B logo will be on your vests and hats this year. I will order a few extra vests, additional hats will be sold at the booth by the Harbor House.
Register soon so I can get your hats, vests, and plaques on order. http://harbordays.com/tugboat-info/

Below are all that have registered so far. Tell your friends and lets fill the docks.

R W Confer
Harbor/under 400 HP
Thea Belle
Harbor/400 HP & over
Maggie B, Virginia V, and the Comanche will be joining us as well.”


Shelly Lively, Executive Director
Harbor Days
PO Box 2351
Olympia, WA 98507

RTA Winter Potluck

posted Saturday, December 20, 2014 by | no responses |

Mark your calendars for Sunday,  January 18th to attend the RTA winter party at the Foss Waterway Seaport.  2 – 4 PM.   It will be a potluck of course!    Drinks, (tea, coffee, pop),  plates, cups, plastic utensils will be furnished by Kae Paterson. (thanks Kae!!!!)

   The address is 705 Dock Street, Tacoma.  Please RSVP by emailing Kae at   Jonrp@centurytel.net  or phoning at 253-858-3147.
The Seaport is giving us a wonderful deal on the space since they have another event the day before and the tables and heaters will be set up all weekend, so that’s why it’s such short notice.  But we hope you can make it out to spend the afternoon visiting with friends old and new and talking tugs.  All members are welcome, you don’t have to own a tug to come to the potluck.

Kitsap Harbor Fest – Memorial Day, 2015

posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 by | no responses |

Hey folks, how about a spring RTA rendezvous?  RTA member Tug Comanche sent us this invite  through the website email .   Sounds like a great way to kick off the summer boating season and have a fun RTA rendezvous. Here’s the invite………..

Fellow Retired Tuggers!  As you may know, tug COMANCHE, has made Bremerton Marina, Bremerton, WA its summer homeport.  It’s a magnificent facility and a great neighborhood. 

We are working with the Port of Bremerton and City of Bremerton on maritime activities and events.

You are cordially invited to come and join us at the Kitsap Harbor Fest over Memorial Day, 2015.  The entire inside guest moorage of the breakwater has been reserved for visiting vintage boats.  COMANCHE will be there as will the c1944 Miki tug DOMINION and other historic vessels.  Moorage will be free for the event ($4.00 a day electric fee, water hook-up is free.)  Those joining us are welcome to set out the donation bucket and even set up a canopy on the dock… there is plenty of room.  The event attracts several thousand visitors a year.

But get your reservation in early!  Tell them COMANCHE invited you.

Contact Kathy Garcia, Marina Manager at kathyg@portofbremerton.org

Looking forward to seeing you there… and maybe even party!

Joe Peterson

Director of Operations



Olympia Harbor Days 2014

posted Thursday, September 04, 2014 by | no responses |

Even a monsoon couldn’t dampen this years Harbor Days festivities.  Friday was a beautiful day and most boats were on the dock at Percival Landing by friday morning.  Rex and Tana Hasart on RW Confer hosted the RTA potluck on Friday night and everyone had a great time catching up with friends on the back deck.



One of the highlights of the weekend was the arrival of Bob Peck’s new tugboat, Kathy M.  Here’s a little video of Kathy M and Smitty J  with the added bonus of the steam launch Folly. I think the Kathy M was the most coveted boat on the dock.

Saturday started out cloudy, there was a monsoon in the early afternoon and then it cleared up nicely by late afternoon.  But even the damp day didn’t discourage folks from coming down to look at the boats.  Saturday morning also brought a new tug to the docks, Shannon (ex Shannon Foss, Judi M) came down for Harbor Days.  She’s a great looking tug and I loved the engineers seat in the engine room.

We certainly hope Capt. Cindy Stahl and crew make it down again next year. In fact Shannon was given the Spiffy award for being the neatest and classiest boat.  

Saturday night was the Skippers dinner, always a good time for captains and crews.  Bob Peck gave out the Harbor Days plaques to all participating boats and there was a drawing for a $150 fuel gift card.  Snee Oosh (Dunlap towing) was the lucky tug in the drawing.  The Lucky Eagle Casino not only catered the dinner, but also gave away free stays at their hotel at each table.  Karla Fowler, who does the great logo boat artwork, was honored for all her years of Harbor Days artwork and there was a small display of her art at the dinner.  A very sweet example of this years logo boat artwork (Reliable) is presented at the dinner in the form of a cake for desert.

Sunday was race day. All the tugs paraded out led by a couple of the visiting Lord Nelson Victory tugs that were in for one of their rendezvous.  Pet Tug acted as the start line and Thistle Dew ( a member of the RTA for many years) once again acted as the finish line boat.

Here are the race results……

Small Craft  

Mary Anne      13:04

Sandman         13:30

Joe                    13:32

Atka                  15:19


Under 400 hp

Reliable          10:08

Snee Oosh      10:32

Teal                  11:04

Thea Belle       12:39


Over 400 hp

Galene              7:11

Shannon          7:54

RW Confer      9:12


We had a bit of a snafu with the start broadcast for the race though, many tugs could not get the race channel on their radios, so only knew that the race was starting when one of the other tugs would begin racing.  It seems there are two channel 20′s and the one they were using for the race was not always available on older VHF sets.  On Galene there are three VHF units and one handheld, luckily the handheld unit was able to receive the race broadcast.

Back on the dock the winning skippers were congratulated and  Bob Peck, Harbor Days Harbormaster handed out the winning  trophies on the back deck of Galene.   


For more photos and videos of this years Harbor Days, check out the RTA Facebook page.   It’s a public page so you do not have to have a Facebook account to see the page.