Category Archives: Commercial boats

2007: Heart Transplant–Caterpillar Re-Powers Corps of Engineers Dredge Essayons

A story I wrote in 2007 for Diesel Progress magazine became an official Caterpillar press release titled Eight Cat® engines re-power the dredge “Essayons,” providing more power, improved efficiency, and emissions compliance for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Needless … Continue reading

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2017: Old Astoria Pilot Boat Arrow 2 Returns

The pilot boat Arrow 2 disappeared from the Astoria waterfront in 2012 and has been greatly missed by the seamen who admired its unique traditional hull shape and general low-tech appearance. There was much speculation about its final disposition: would … Continue reading

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WW II: Astoria’s Epic Minesweeper Years

Astoria Shipyard’s Minesweeper (YMS) Production Remembered The 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor last December gives us a chance to review the incredible history of the “war at home” in Astoria—a time when thousands of ordinary women performed … Continue reading

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The Flettner Rotor Makes a Comeback!

The new hybrid ship designs were pioneered in Scandinavia where ecological hydro-power has long been the standard for utilities. The public demand for more clean power use has led to the introduction of hybrid propulsion in several new ferries and … Continue reading

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140′ MV Manu’Atele–a Versatile Ferry for American Samoa

Nichols Brothers Boatbuilders of Whidbey Island, Wash. was contracted by the Government of American Samoa to build the MV Manu’Atele, a 140′ multi-purpose inter-island ferry to operate between the capital Pago Pago and the Manu’a Islands. “We have visited American … Continue reading

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2015: Western Towboat Builds Seventh Titan-Class Tug

When Western Towboat of Seattle started building its first Titan ASD long-haul tug at their base on the Seattle Ship Canal in 1995, owners Ric and Bob Shrewsbury were simply responding to the growth of barge service to SE Alaska. … Continue reading

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North America’s First Hybrid LNG/Battery Ferry

This story is about hybrid boats, a subject that I have been following for many years. However, when I see the word “hybrid” I still think first of a really efficient, low-emission passenger car like the Toyota Prius, the world’s … Continue reading

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2015: Coastal Transportation Sets a New STANDARD

Coastal Transportation Pioneers TTS sideport loading system in USA After more than 30 years of weekly liner service to Western Alaska with a fleet of five or six small fish tender vessels specifically designed for service between Seattle and the … Continue reading

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Fred Wahl: 25 Years in Reedsport and 40 Boats

This summer has seen a couple of notable milestones at Fred Wahl Marine Inc, the boat builder in Reedsport on the central Oregon Coast. Wahl began business here on the Umpqua River in July 1991, 25 years ago, and the … Continue reading

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The Salvage Chief-Still Going Strong at 70

When an empty fuel barge went on the rocks of North Head last month, the US Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology were in charge of a salvage effort led by Sause Brothers (owners of the barge) and … Continue reading

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