Charles Keefer's Blog

Brook. Where are you?

with 2 comments

The tugboat Huntington.

The tugboat Huntington.

Here is a familiar sight for those who cruise the Palm Beach Lake Trail. The tugboat Huntington is anchored in the Intracoastal about two and a half miles north of the Flagler Memorial Bridge.

I went through three pages of Google looking for information about the Huntington and the Tugboat Museum to which it allegedly belongs. Below, from www.vacationsmadeeasy.com is the most information I could find:

The Tugboat Museum is situated in downtown Norfolk and is docked next to Nauticus on the waterfront. The boat has been renovated to present life onboard the tug and features photographs and artifacts from its working life.  The 300-ton tug boat is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and was named the Huntington, after the shipyard founder  Collis B. Huntington.  It was built in 1933 at the Newport News Shipyard by its apprentices.  The tugboat operated in Norfolk’ harbor and the James River, and was a well-known sight on the water where it assisted cruise liners, submarines, and warships including aircraft carriers for over 50 years.  It has been estimated that the Tug Huntington assisted around 40,000 boats during its working life, and moved every vessel that was built by the Newport News Shipyard.

Its owner Brook Smith, who also owns the American Rover tall ship that offers sailing tours in Norfolk Harbor, decided to preserve the tug following its retirement in 1994. The half hour tour of the tug boat reveals the engine room with her incredibly powerful engine, and life on board the boat in the renovated crew’s quarter, salon and galley.  There are displays and video presentation charting the history of the towing industry.  The tug also includes operational parts such as the two water cannon where children can ‘fire’ water into the harbor.  They can also sound the tug boat’s whistle and learn to tie knots.  Admission prices are $1 for children and $2 for adults.

Obviously the boat is not longer anchored in downtown Norfolk and you can’t tour it unless you either have your own boat or can walk on water.

A search for Brook Smith, the alleged owner, was fruitless. A search for the tall ship American Rover reveals a web site that has not been updated since 2008 but offered charters and sailing tours twice a day.

Brook, we hope you are alright. We found your tugboat down here in Palm Beach.

Ride report:

Date Miles Total Remaining Percent
March 5 21.37 524.54 2475.46 17.48
March 6 21.99 546.53 2453.47 18.21
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Written by Charles Keefer

March 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Bicycles, Blog

2 Responses

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  1. That tug boat belongs to the boondoggle that is the Palm Beach Maritime Museum. The Museum and related (but not entirely related) maritime academy were to give tours of the tugboat and use it to draw visitors to downtown. Needless to say, the tug has seen little promotion and even fewer visitors.

    —Matt

    Matthew Steinhoff

    March 9, 2009 at 6:33 pm

  2. The boat is now tied up at the moody brothers yard in Jacksonville FL under the Atlantic Blvd bridge on the intercoastal. I to was interested in it and had to google it I found the same information you had and nothing else.

    Tom Bradley

    October 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm


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