North to Alaska on the tug Polar Endurance

Lots happening here since finishing mate school.  The very day I passed Terestrial Nav at the USCG REC in Seattle, myself and one other crew member drove to Port Ludlow, WA to meet the R/V Clifford A. Barnes.  I relieved the captain for the balance of a five day trip.  The trip was a continuation of the trip when we broke down.

After completing the voyage, there really wasn’t much work on the books until mid September so I started running the local Vessel Assist boat again until I could find something else.  I had sent out my resume to several tug / shipping companies.  Last Thursday in the late afternoon, while I was towing a broken Bayliner back to port, Dunlap Towing of Everett, WA called and asked if I was available.  I let them know that I was enrolled in a Leadership & Mangement Skills course the following week.  The course is being required by the USCG to be completed by the end of this year.  The call from Dunlap was late afternoon on Thursday and on Friday morning I was taking a physical, drug test and work test in downtown Seattle.  Dunlap had tossed around a few different start dates but really hadn’t pinned it down for sure.  After the physical, I drove to their office to fill out some paperwork for them and they pinned down the date for this Friday as soon as I get out of class!

Like I said, things are moving fast.  Here is some information about the tug I’ll be on from tugboat information: Polar Endurance

I’ve really only ever been on one other tug, and that was a tour at Western Towboat in Seattle.  I’ve got a lot of learning to do and I’m really looking forward to it.  We are towing a loaded freight barge from Seattle to several ports in SE Alaska and possibly going to Dutch Harbor before heading home.  The one thing I expect is changes to the schedule and port of calls along the way.  It’s Alaska and the weather gods and customers throw lots of curve balls.

For me, Dunlap is just across the bridge from my home town, maybe a 20 minute drive.  Most of the crew changes happen right there, so it is very easy.  Hopefully they will like me and ask me to go on another trip after this one!  Stay tuned.


Rounding Cape Horn on the tall ship Peking

Irving Johnson made this video that has been adapted into the film “Around Cape Horn.  In this short clip he really details the vessel and the dangers encountered by the crew as she rounded Cape Horn.  I find this stuff fascinating and thought you may enjoy it.

More Tugs

More tug photos from around the Pacific Northwest.
Crowley Nanuq at the Foss yard:

Western Towboat Alaska Titan:

Crowley assist tugs in San Diego:

Curtain Maritime working in San Diego:

Sause Black Hawk:

Lindsey Foss:

Crowley Ocean Wind:

Westar Bearcat:

Westar Pacific Wind:

Freemont Tug’s working the Foss 300 Steam Powered Crane into the Kvichak Yard while launching a new vessel:

Some Kirby Tugs:

Other tugs I don’t remember snapping:

Western Towboat assisting a USCG Cutter out of Lake Union through the Freemont Cut:

Thank you for stopping by.  More posts coming soon.



Here are some photos of tugs that I’ve taken randomly.  Some I remember taking, others I don’t.  I just decided to throw them all into one post.

Crowley assist tugs, Tacoma WA

Thea Belle, formerly Chris Foss

Western Towboat Ocean Navigator :

Western Towboat Bearing Titan being launched:

Freemont Tug’s Dixie:

Tug’s from Manzanillo Mexico:

After realizing how many of these I have, I’m going to have to make this into multiple posts.


Launching Western Towboat’s Bearing Titan


​A few weeks back, while sitting in class at Crawford’s Nautical School, there was a buzz about a new tug being launched a couple doors down at Western Towboat.  Several of the students and instructors walked over to watch the action.


The tug was built by Western Towboat using their own designs.  The launch was not your traditional splash style launch.  Instead, the tug was cradled by two huge wheeled dollies connected to two Kenworth tractors with three drive axles each.  For added traction, the tractors had an extra 24,000 pounds of weight on their flat beds.  A dry dock from Foss Shipyards, directly across the channel, was pushed up to shore and huge ramps installed.  The trucks maneuvered the dollies in tandem, pushing, steering a braking to manipulate the dollies in the desired direction.  As the weight of the tug sank the dry dock, the operation paused to pump out the dock and float it higher.  Once the tug was fully on the dock, I went back to class as it was going to take some time to sink the dock and float the tug out.  All in all, quite the operation.


The tug makes its first Alaksa freight run in early August.