My name is Isaac Pennock, and I have created this database for use as an easy reference tool for all tugboat fans, especially those near the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Tug companies that operate primarily on the Great Lakes (and its local river systems), the St. Lawrence, or the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be included. Since I live near and travel around the Great Lakes, I try to find and take photos of as many tugs as I can, but this is a tall task for one person to do alone.
Therefore, I must fully thank all those who have provided their own photos for use on this site, and more are always welcome. Thank you to Nathan Attard, Ken Bailey, Scott Best, Ron Bialecki, Matt Carlson, Kyran Clune, Paul Cook, Mike Cunningham, Stephanie Daigle, Christine Douglas, Tyler Fairfield, Bonnie Fera, Tom Gerger, Robert Gesking, Anders Gilbertson, Sam Hankinson, Diane Hilden, Holly Jorgenson, Blake Kishler, Wendy LaFond, Don Lee, Nathan Leindecker, Bob Lund, Mac MacKay, Jim Munts, Ken Newhams, Mike Nicholls, Martin Palardy, Marc Piché, Nate Price, John Rice, Paul Scinocca, Todd Shorkey, Ben Stalvey, Nick Stenstrup, Gen Sterenberg, Paul Strubeck, Will Van Dorp, Shaun Vary, Terry White, and Ted Wilush for their contributions. Those who have provided photos ask that they not be re-used without permission or credit, and I ask the same for both their photos and my own. Please note: as of December 2020, it has been over a year since I have added photos to the site due to an upload limit and wordpress formatting issues. I’m not sure if I will be adding photographs to the site at any point in the future, however, images of most tugs can be found by googling them.
I also could not have compiled this site without a large amount of research and sources to turn to. The following is a list of sources I used in compiling both the histories and data shown on the vessel pages. All the information is out there, and I wanted to bring it together in one place for all to access. All of the books listed below are essential and I highly recommend them all for a deeper dive into the story of these vessels.
- Shipbuilding History
- “Know Your Ships“, various issues
- Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping
- “Tugboats of the Great Lakes” by Franz A. VonRiedel
- The Historical Collections of the Great Lakes at Bowling Green State University
- “Purvis Marine Limited” by G.I. Longhurst and Skip Gillham
- “Final Voyage” by Skip Gillham and “Final Voyage II” by Ron Beaupré and Skip Gillham
- “North Shore Legacy: Converted Fish Tugs of Lake Erie” by Shaun R. Vary
- The Russel Brothers archive, courtesy of Steve Briggs
- Transport Canada
- The websites of many of the tugboat companies featured here, which will be linked to on each company’s page where available.
- Help from other researchers, which has been invaluable.
- Eyewitness reports from observers, which are always welcome.
Another note: tugboats under 30 feet long, particularly pushboats, are often hard to track between owners, and many are not registered and sometimes not even named. I have included as many as I can find information on, but I will never be able to compile a complete listing of vessels of that size.
Lastly, I welcome corrections, contributions, and feedback. I’m always working on improving and updating this site, and even though I feel it can never truly be “complete”, I’d like to get as close as possible.
Please enjoy the site, and thanks for visiting.