Tugboats' Historical Timeline

Here is a running history of the tugboat and its activities during the last couple of centuries.

  March, 1802 The first towing vessel, Charlotte Dundas, makes a successful trip.

  1817 The first reference to the word tug.  This is the name given to a small towing vessel built in Dunbarton as a ship assistant.
  1860 Moran Towing was founded in New York.
  March, 1861 During the Civil War, the Union army employed tugs to save Fort Sumpter.  Read about it here.
  December 13th, 1864 More tugs are used by the Signal Corps to direct fire upon forts along Georgia rivers and Hampton Roads, Virginia.  Read about it here.
  July, 1864  Rear Admiral Lee sends the tugboats Belle, Martin, and Hoyt, fitted as torpedo boats, to Commander Macomb, commanding Union naval forces off New Bern, North Carolina.
  1889 Foss Maritime is started up with the purchase of a single steam launch.  Read about it here.
  May 15, 1915 In Waterford, New York, the Tug Schenectady was the first vessel to enter the Waterford Flight of Locks, marking the opening of the new Erie Canal from Waterford to Rexford.  Read about it here.
  1939 Little Toot, by Hardie Gramatky, is first published.  It is a children's book about a little tugboat.  It has been reprinted numerous times.
  July 19th, 1942 The steam tug Keshena is sunk by a mine off the Outer Banks while assisting two tankers that had been attacked by U-boats earlier.  Read about it here.
  May 10, 2001 Tug Bay Titan sinks in the C&D Canal with loss of life.  Read about it here.
  January 18, 2006 Tug Valour sinks off the coast of North Carolina with loss of life.  Read about it here.
  June 13, 2007 Tug Huntington, an historic Norfolk, Virginia icon and towing industry standard was moved from its Nauticus berth in Norfolk to the Palm Beach Maritime Museum in Palm Beach, Florida.
  2008 Foss Maritime build the first hybrid powered tug in America.
  April, 2009 The world's first "facet tug," Ruth M. Reinauer was delivered by the Senesco Shipyard in Kingston, Rhode Island. A facet tug is built entirely of flat steel with multiple chines replacing shaped steel. This design means that smaller shipyards can build bigger tugs at less cost.  Read more here.

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