The Town of Waterford Presents the

Annual Waterford Tugboat Roundup

In 2018, September 7th, 8th and 9th,

We'd like to thank our Sponsors! Generous financial support comes from Stewart's Shops, Maximum Security Products, Chris and Gina Freeman, The Family of Captain Bart Brake, DonJon Marine, Mzximum Security Products, Colonie Landfill and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. +++ We'd also like to give a special call-out to the Express Newspapers for amazing support as well as Boating on Hudson. +++
NYS Marine Highway, NYS Canal Corp., NYS Power Authority, Stewart's Shops, Maximum Security Products, Bill Curry, DonJon Marine, The Family of Captain Bart Brake, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Colonie Landfill, Chris and Gina Freeman, the Port of Albany, Express News, Boating on the Hudson, C.D. Perry & Sons, Coeyman's Marine, Colonie Landfill, Scarano Boat Builders, Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Marra's Pharmacy, CDPHP, Reinauer Transportation, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Village and Town employees of Waterford, The staff and volunteers of the Waterford Visitor's Center, the locktenders and crews of the NYS Canal System, All Type Professional Doors, Forensic Medical Services, Tom and Gail Venezio, Capt Ben and Linda Grudinskas, McDonald's of Waterford, Philip Brendese Funeral Homes, Waterford Clock Company, Don & Paul's, McGreivey's, Port of Albany, Chris and Gina Freeman, Broad St. Cafe, CD Perry, Pioneer Bank, McDonald's of Waterford, Waterford Rescue Squad, Waterford Fire Departments and Companies, Jack Byrne Ford, Ursula of Switzerland, the family and friends of Dick Hurst,

First Tug on the Barge Canal

by the Waterford Canal Committee - Schenectady  Tug - First tug through the Barge Canal Lock Waterford May 15, 1915
On an otherwise unspectacular Spring day in 1915, history was made in Waterford, NY. The Tug Schenectady entered the Waterford Flight of Locks on May 15 of that year, marking the opening of the new Erie Canal from Waterford to Rexford. Over the next three years, different sections of the Barge Canal would open as completed. Soon, backyards throughout New York State would feature long barges loaded with goods of all kinds, pushed and pulled by sleek and unassuming tugs, whose smooth lines and tranquil appearance while at rest would belie massive steam (and later diesel) engines below, giving them tremendous capacity to do their work. Belching gigantic clouds of black smoke; these unique canal-going tugs, with their beguiling lines and sparkling brass, enchanted children of all ages from Waterford to Whitehall and Tonowanda. Gazing upon these fire breathing dragons moving effortlessly through the water, many would dream of someday taking the place of that kindly Engineer or Captain leaning up against the wheelhouse - taking a puff on his pipe, and giving a wave of his cap.

Russell TugThe New York State Barge Canal was a waterway of tremendous commercial prominence for nearly three quarters of a century. Just about anything you could imagine was shipped on the canal. This made for a hustling, bustling highway of water; replete with tugs and barges of all shapes and sizes (and no shortage of colorful characters to run them). Twenty-four hours a day, communities had - permanently ingrained in the backdrop of their main streets and rolling fields alike - a constantly changing collage of these proud, magnificent vessels. Tugboats were as common a sight as a man walking a dog, or a child riding a bike. Oh, how times have changed.

CC Brothers TugAmong the still unique and increasingly eclectic range of vessels that navigate today on the canal system, tugboats are more and more the exception rather than the rule. Folks living along the canal still wave to and chat with boaters passing by. The difference is that - today - the vast majority of these boaters are on vacation and not at work. Well remembered, though, are the Bushey, Coyne, Kehoe, and Matton tugs that plied these waterways over the years. With so many others, these tugs helped form the makeup of our great state today, and also inspired many lives and careers. Often, childhood adventures centered around these tugs and their crews. Waterford native and self-described canal rat Mike Cicchinelli remembers his boyhood growing up on the canal. "I knew the guys on the tugs pretty good. I had a little boat, and I'd bring them out supplies. They would sound their horn to let me know they were coming, but I always could tell which tug it was by the sound of the engine. They treated me good, and it was a great way to grow up."

I Love New York
New York State Division of Tourism
Albany, NY 12245

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
28 Clinton Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518/584-3255 • 800/526-8970

Southern Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
15 Park Ave. # 7B
Clifton Park, NY 12065