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Five Fast Facts about Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial

April 27, 2021

Standing tall near the water's edge at Fishermen's Terminal is Seattle Fishermen's Memorial, a tribute to more than 675 local commercial fishers  who lost their lives at sea. This monument serves as a place of reverence, reflection, and healing for their families and the tight-knit commercial fishing industry. Further, the organization behind the monument, also called Seattle Fishermen's Memorial, provides valuable services to support fishers and their families. Here are five fast facts about Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial, the sculpture, and the organization:

1.    The sculpture depicts fishers as larger-than-life heroes. 

The bronze figure topping the monument is heroic and larger than life by design. Its size reflects the immensely important, challenging, and often dangerous work undertaken by fishers – the work of heroes. The figure is posed landing a massive, mythical fish imagined by the artist as a composite of many species: cod, salmon, herring, rockfish and others — a hero’s bounty. 

Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial. The figure’s gaze is fixed over his left shoulder towards the Ballard Bridge where he ‘watches’ all departing vessels
Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial: The figure’s gaze is fixed over his left shoulder towards the Ballard Bridge where he ‘watches’ all departing vessels.

2.    The memorial design was chosen from 92 submissions.

In 1986 the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial planning committee opened a contest to design and build the monument.  Sculptor Ron Petty’s design was chosen among 92 submissions. It took Petty two years and four months to complete the work. The monument was dedicated October 8, 1988. 

Today, Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial stands between Docks 8 and 9 at Fishermen’s Terminal. The monument features a 30-foot bronze and granite column flanked by two granite walls. These walls bear the names of local fishers lost at sea since the start of the 20th century. 

3.    The individuals whose names appear on the Memorial Wall were nominated. 

Blessing of the Fleet.

The Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Board of Directors holds the responsibility of selecting names to be added to the memorial wall. Nominations are submitted by families, friends, crewmates, and the community. To qualify, a nominee must be “an individual who lost his/her life at sea or in active pursuit of their livelihood as a fisherman/fisherwoman or other personnel working on board a fishing industry vessel” who had close ties to Seattle. 

On the first Sunday of every May, an Annual Dedication ceremony acknowledges those whose names have been added to the wall. 

4.    The Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial organization supports the surviving family members of fishers lost at sea. 

The Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial is a charitable organization devoted to easing the emotional struggles and financial burden of education for surviving family members.  The organization provides grief counseling at no charge to bereaved families, and maintains a scholarship fund that is awarded to eligible family members and dependents twice a year.

5.    Safety is a priority for the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial organization.

blessing of the fleet

Proper safety training can save lives. The Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial organization is committed to promoting safer vessels and provides opportunities and resources for crews to receive safety training. The organization offers rebates for training in vessel stability, first aid and CPR, shipboard firefighting, and drill instructor certification. Rebates for 50 percent of the cost of safety courses and onboard training are available to eligible individuals and crews. 

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