In the beginning there was the fire truck… a 1920 Seagrave pumper. Thanks to that loan from Seattle Fire Chief, Bill Fitzgerald, the Pirates were accompanied by the, now familiar, scream of sirens from their birth at the first Pirates Landing at Coleman Dock on Pier 52, to their first Seafair parade.
The Coast Guard later assigned a DUKW, (duck) a World War II landing craft, to Greater Seattle for the transportation of the Seafair Pirates, and assorted dignitaries, during the Seafair Celebrations. They also assigned a qualified driver for this duty along with a Police escort to accompany the nine ton vehicle.
Unfortunately for this happy arrangement, the Pirates soon outgrew it. The order was simply too busy to schedule the loan of equipment and personnel, every time they needed to go out on an operation. There was only one answer. With the connivance of two congressmen and a few generals, it was time the Pirates had their own pirate ship.
Starting her life as a 1944 vintage amphibious landing craft, or DUKW. “The Duck” came to the Seafair Pirates in 1954, Adorned with a writhing Chinese dragon painted by the late Weaver Dial, the, now world famous, Moby Duck made her debut in that year’s Seafair celebrations, and the Seafair Pirates have maintained and operated the Duck at their expense ever since.
Over the years Weaver often changed the paintwork.
Various schemes were tried but always the Duck returned to a “Spanish galleon” design, the better to announce to the world that MOBY DUCK was indeed a genuine pirate ship.