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Places to tour water vessels

Get in touch with the Northwest's maritime heritage

USS Turner Joy in Bremerton. Photo credit: Kristin Kendle

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The Puget Sound is a maritime region. Even if you're not a boater, you can still delve into the local maritime heritage in plenty of ways - some of the best of which are festivals, museums and actual water vessels. Get up close and personal with submarines, Navy destroyers or even vintage tug boats.

Beyond large boats to tour, you can also find plenty of smaller water craft to explore or learn about at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, or Tacoma's awesome Maritime Fest each summer.

USS Turner Joy in Bremerton

The biggest and baddest of any water vessel you can tour in the entire region is the USS Turner Joy - a decommissioned Forrest Sherman-class Navy destroyer located in Bremerton. The ship spent the years between 1959 and 1982 plying the Pacific, including fighting in the Vietnam War. Today, the ship is open to visitors to explore. Wander on the massive deck or venture deep into the ship's interior, almost all of which is open for exploring from offices to the mess hall to the claustrophobic bunk areas. 300 Washington Beach Ave., Bremerton,

USS Blueback in Portland

OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is largely geared toward children, but under the OMSI umbrella is the USS Blueback - a fast-attack, non-nuclear sub open for guided tours. Impressively, 85 people lived and worked in the sub. Just think of that as you tour the tight spaces or try out one of the bunks. USS Blueback spent most of its career in the Pacific, but also appeared in The Hunt for Red October. 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, Oregon,

Tugboat Sandman in Olympia

Sandman is a 100-year-old tugboat that's moored in Olympia and open to the public most weekends. The tug measures about 60 feet from bow to stern and has been fully restored to its original glory, but many pieces are original, from the wheel to the towing winch. Visitors can walk around the deck, pilot house and other parts of the boat. Exploring the boat is free. Percival Landing, Olympia,

Lady Washington

The Lady Washington is a full-scale replica of the original Lady Washington, which was a tall ship that traded in the waters of the Pacific starting in the late 1700s. The replica was built by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority and is still managed by them as well. Unlike other water vessels in the area, Lady Washington is often on the move, but touring her decks - or even better, going on a sail on the ship - is second to none. There's simply nothing like standing under a tall ship's sails and rigging, or standing in the very spot where Johnny Depp stood as the ship was used in The Pirates of the Caribbean. Check the Seaport's website to keep up with where the ship will dock next or to sign up to sail with the Lady Washington. 326 Lamb St., Westport,

Hawaiian Chieftain

Also under the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority is another tall ship - the Hawaiian Chieftain. The two tall ships often travel together to events and are often open for tours at the same time, but not always. Like the Lady Washington, you can check the Historical Seaport's website to see when and where to tour the Hawaiian Chieftain or how to go sailing. Built in 1988, the Hawaiian Chieftain is a ketch that's 65 feet long and made of steel (despite its vintage looks).

When the ship is home in Aberdeen, it's located at 2790 Washington St., Port Townsend.

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