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A few weeks ago I wrote about one type of dry dock. Some photos below show my favorite flat-bottomed schooner high and dry.


The blue frame behind schooner Pioneer is called a marine travel lift. It’s a mobile and self-propelled frame with slings that winch tighter or looser to “haul” a vessel from the water or “float” one back in. Let’s watch Pioneer get floated or “splashed,” as other people say.


Scale is shown by the travel lift operator walking back to his “driving” platform after ensuring that Pioneer is securely cradled and ready to move. The manufacturer of this machine makes models that can lift up to 1000 tons; Pioneer weighs less than 100.


Splash … into the Arthur Kill. That’s Perth Amboy and a little of the Outerbridge that you see in the background off the port and starboard sides of Pioneer. After a vessel is lowered and floating, a thorough check needs to be made inside the hull to ensure that no leaking is taking place. I once saw a wooden cabin cruiser floated after it had been on land for a few months; hull planks had dried out and shrunk, which opened seams. The cabin cruiser was left in the slings for a day, mobile pumps evacuating the water, while the planks swelled back shut.

The same lift was used to haul and place this tug and the one below.

With a metal hull, there’s no planks to shrink and open seams. This tug was under restoration last winter. A friend who reads this blog might just be interested in restoring a tug to serve as a retirement liveaboard. What think you?

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December 2006