A Troy towing company has had one of its flagship tugs named Tugboat of the Year by the Waterford Tugboat Roundup.
The honor is awarded by the Roundup’s planning committee each year, celebrating a boat’s contribution to history and, often, to the ongoing success of inland waterway transportation.
The tug Frances, built in 1957 and now owned and operated by New York State Marine Highway of Troy will be leading the parade of tugs opening the 17th annual Tugboat Roundup on Friday, September 9.
The three-day festival takes place along the waterfront every year in this colonial village just north of Albany, at the junction of the Hudson River and the storied Erie Canal. It attracts tugs from the east coast, the Great Lakes, up and down the Hudson River and along the canal system.
Over the years, the Roundup has become recognized by the tug industry and has fans from around the country and attention from the trade press around the world.
NYS Marine Highway, a privately held corporation, now boasts nine boats in its fleet, including the two flagship boats the Frances and the Margot. The company has recently acquired 3 of the larger tugs used in the dredging operations on the Champlain Canal.
The Frances is used along the Hudson River, east coast, the Great Lakes and the NYS Canal System. The company, one of a handful operating on the canal, expects to carry more cargo on the canal system this year than has been carried by all companies in any one year since the 1980s.
The Frances is 146 tons and 90 feet long. Built in 1957 by Jakobson Shipyards of New York, it is a “Canaller” type of tug. This means the wheelhouse is capable of rising and lowering, going up to see over the length of the barge(s) being pushed but then going down in order to duck underneath the lower bridges on the canal system.
The Tugboat Roundup is a sponsor-supported event, produced annually by the Town of Waterford. In its 17th year, this regional festival draws 30 to 40 boats, 100 or more vendors with arts, crafts, local foods, history exhibits and displays and feature a large fireworks show on Saturday evening.
More information can be found on the event’s webpage.
Photos: Tug Frances (bow to right) credit Tim Dufel, and Tug Frances (bow to left) credit Fred Wehner, Tug 44.