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More coverage of the 2009 Tug Roundup in Waterford later, but for now some quick fotos.  Maybe the focus on flatbottoms aka platbodems in the sixth boro has influenced my perception, but bottoms were as much a thread this year as noses, last year.  Of course, tugs dominated:  near to far in this foto:  Shenandoah, Empire, Benjamin Elliott, Margot, and Cornell . . . all of which you’ve seen here before.  More on them soon.


Grand Erie, an Erie Canal tug–yes, it is–began life as Chartiers, an Ohio River USACE dredge tender in 1951.  Get it . . . dredging . . .  bottom?


Without the usual W. O. Decker selling rides, folks wanting to see the waterside could catch a half hour on this canalboat.  Anyone got an update on Decker?  Will it reappear next season?


And then there is Lois McClure, a replica  of an 1862 canal schooner barge, with obvious mixed European heritage.  Tug C. L. Churchill appears off the port stern quarter.


As tender atop McClure‘s deckhouse is this upturned birchbark canoe.


Complementing all my thoughts about undersides and bottoms was this T-shirt, modeled here by the ubiquitous Karl, who traded a Harvey shirt for a this one from an itinerant dredger crewman.


Until we see fotos soon, you might not believe that Stuart’s mini-tug SeaHorse has a flat bottom.  More pics soon.


And since the bow pudding must transform this machine into a tugboat, I can add this to the pattern . . . a very flatbottomed jet-driven tug allegedly named Urger 2.  And speaking of Urger . . . .


is it possible that a near clone–its name differing in only one letter–has arrived at the Roundup?  More soon.


All fotos but the last one by Will Van Dorp.  And that Burger foto . . . will for now go unattributed.

Check out the Waterford Historical Society site here.

When tugs race on Sunday, government boats will officiate.  Here are a few players.

When Liberty IV splashed into her element in 1989 at the Washburn & Doughty yard in East Boothbay, ME, she began a career that she still occupies:  to ferry Park Service employees and supplies from the “mainland” to several stops in the sixth boro archipelago, i.e.,  Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  Besides bearing a heritage relationship with such diverse vessels as Pati T. Moran, Shearwater, and Black Knight, she also carries a unique escutcheon on her stern.

aaagb1Does anyone have fotos of Liberty I or II or III?  Would Liberty I be sail or steam?


John D. McKean, foto taken one sunset a few weeks back, started service in 1954, first splashing into the waters in Camden at John H. Mathis, the same yard that built Mary Whalen!


A Perth Amboy Fire boat zipped eastward in the KVK last month.  That’s K-Sea Baltic Sea in the background.


USACE Moritz, in  hurry toward Newark Bay last week. Moritz comes from Kvichak Industries, soon


disappeared round the bend at Bergen Point.


Other recent fotos of government boats include this ones entrusted to  Union County (New Jersey)  Police,

aagmx3and New Jersey State Police.


Finally, certainly NOT a government boat, but a German ship that has vessels that experiment with alternative propulsion.  Foto was taken by bowsprite from her cliff last week.  Did anyone catch the name?


Finally, as of Wednesday morning writing, Flinterduin will approach the Narrows near dusk tonight and start offloading tomorrow at dawn.  And I have to be at work . . . from dusk today until dawn Friday . . .  maybe I can sneak away to do tugster’s bidding.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

M . . . mast.  I love the wikipedia disambiguation pages, where a range of contexts for words like mast or masthead defies expectation.

Cornell sports its mast toward the stern; running lights there convey information about vessel size, type, and activity.


Clearwater, a sloop, has a one mast topping out at about 110 feet.


On City of Water Day, USACE Drift Collection vessel Hayward sports code flags on its mast and a sampling of collected debris on its foredeck.


Pioneer, a schooner, has two masts, the mainmast topped out at just under 77 feet.


Sandy Hook Pilots vessel Yankee has units (besides the radar and GPS) on its mast I can’t identify.


Bunkering tanker Capt Blog‘s foremast carries a red flag, signaling fuel.


So does barge DBL 76.  Mast height on Adriatic Sea is 85 feet, if airdraft equals height of the highest mast or antenna.  I fear I might be blurring a definition here.

Volunteer, air draft of 114 feet and pushing DBL 105, meets Turecamo Boys assisting Seven Express out to to sea.


USCG WPB67356 Sailfish, not surprisingly, carries mast gear not readily identified by a civilian like me.


Miriam Moran, assisting with docking, keeps the upper portion of its mast safely lowered where flaring bows cannot damage it.


Masts can signal information but of course sometimes signaling is optional or even undesired.  Masts allow things to be seen, but one has to know what should remain unseen.  An effective mast needs strength, and sometimes that means it is flexible.

Both submarines and whaling ships have masts.  For some good fun, check out this six-minute video of  a struggle between Captain Ahab and Moby Das Boot.

Also, just for fun:  How might you complete this sentence:


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Send me your original sentence completions.

After watching the inauguration at Trinity Church,  I walked with a friend along the River.  Gelberman, an 85′ debris collection vessel operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, crunched her way along an ice flow near North Cove.  Now a question:  anyone know where “Mereczowszczyzna” is and how it relates to this post?  (I cannot pronounce the mystery location.)


Gelberman chronological vitals:   built at Dravo SteelShip in Arkansas in 1980.  Later, that shipyard, now closed, was purchased by J. B. Hunt.  ?!?!  The stuff on the internet boggles my mind.  Below is Gelberman southbound in the Arthur Kill last Friday, the day I took the other snowy fotos.


March 2008 I caught Gelberman in  dry dock, getting a new


wheel.  Who was Gelberman?  Answer below.


He was Chief of the Operations Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, NY District, a civil engineer, a graduate of Vanderbilt University.  Deceased 1973.

Thanks to Lemming for identifying a foto from almost a year ago as USACE survey vessel  Dobrin; a search for more info on Dobrin led me to this USACE design center site.

Oh, Mereczowszczyzna is the birthplace of Tadeusz Kościuszko, honored by statues and place names in West Point and many other places, arguably founder of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Speaking of debris, here’s what a 1000 tons of lumber washing overboard looks like.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Thank God for  drills;  they helped snatch rescue from tragedy.  Flight crews made the controlled descent,  rescue crews raced to get terrified passengers out of paralyzingly icy waters, and mariners in ferries and other boats assisted as needed.  A team.

When I took this foto in Elizabeth this morning, my thermometer read 19 degrees, and my fingers numbed quickly in the cold and wind.  Imagine the passengers and their terror followed immediately by the need to move hastily to the nearest exit, sloshing in frigid water.  Not even the best swimmer could make it to the nearest bank of the Hudson.


The call today was no drill.


Mere minutes are critical;

aaaanypdseconds matter.


Has anyone made of list of responding vessels including those on Qban’s foto from Flickr below?  Qban shot this from Jersey City waterfront.

from Qbans Flickr photostream

from Qban's Flickr photostream

Drills . . . overcome panic and paralysis.  Kudos to the responders.  Here’s a link to reader-provided fotos to the NY Times.

All fotos except Qban’s by Will Van Dorp.

Tiny boat in KVK hits tugboat wake, samples submarine life.


Here’s the same vessel seconds earlier.  Corps of Engineers vessel?  Innovative sampling technique?


Not quite so extreme . . . with this security vessel, which


seconds before had zoomed toward the Buttermilk.


No, I didn’t catch this Harlem River-patrolling NYPD boat with bone-in-teeth, but I love the billboard.  I figure it refers to a TV show, but–given the law enforcement boat–more apropos might be . . “underworlds of the city.”  Or


given the splash around the first Engineers boat . . . underwater in the city.

Unrelated:  I took the foto below at the Tug Roundup to capture Spooky Boat history.  And I just relocated it this rainy afternoon.


Hmm . . . a 38′ ZFXO?

with all that speed cruising for mermaids?

Corps of Engineers vessel Hudson has nice lines, but I’m unable to locate much info about about its history or mission.

Cormorant is the DEP skimmer vessel, fishing for floatables. See p. 19 of this great overview of the City’s wastewater process.

It might be irreverent to say this, but COE’s Hayward seemed to use the flag as jib in order to turn on its axis. Tell me I saw that wrong.

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