What started as a Michigan mystery has spawned a new obsession for me. Of course, I obsess readily. Finally, for example, I have context for the foto below I took in May 2007. Eleanor D was described as the last commercial fishing vessel on Lake Ontario. Nowhere was the term “tug” used, as you can see at this link packed with images and up on the website for the H. Lee White Marine Museum in Oswego, NY. Now I see where she fits.

Here’s a shot of the stern of the unnamed “tug” in Muskegon. As with car carriers, these vessels’ design follows function. Speaking of context, here’s an rich and comprehensive website dedicated to what are clearly referred to as “fish tugs.”

Elsie J plans to offer harbor cruises out of South Haven, MI. Check them out if you’re nearby.

OK, sometimes I’m lazy and just foto the label; this link has images of the Kahlenberg engine, a labor intensive power plant that gets oiled externally in about 50 places before starting.

Here’s another link on that engine.

Now I re-raise the question . . . why are they called “tugs”? Dan Meeter’s topmost comment makes sense on the way words change meaning over time. Take the word “scow”. When my brother-in-law mentioned he had a racing scow, I didn’t imagine what you see at this link. I visualized something much more like a gundalow featured here last year. So why “tug”?

Photos, WVD.