A historic Puget Sound tugboat. Built in 1926. Nearly lost several times. Still floating on Puget Sound today. Will you be part of her future?
A part of Puget Sound maritime history.
She began her life as a log boom tugboat, called the Edward A. Young. She plied the waters of Puget Sound. Built by Tacoma Tug & Barge company in 1926, she had ruts in her deck planking from the cork boots of the men who worked on her. Her starboard bow shows some sort of impact but that story is known only to those who can no longer speak. Even such an impact, though, has little long-lasting effect on such a vessel. She was built hell-for-stout, having 2" thick planks of old growth Douglas Fir, with 3"x 3" ribs on 12" centers (12" from the center of one rib to the next). But her real integrity comes from her ceiling. No, not like the one above your head, but a boat's ceiling, which is what a tugboat's inner planking layer is called. Yes, you understand that right: a tugboat like the Edward A. Young has two hulls - an inner one and an outer one!
We sadly don't have a lot of history from her time as a working tugboat. With patience, we are hoping to get more information from the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and other sources. Meanwhile, we have been able to fill in a couple of the gaps from listening and reading. One tantalizing historical tidbit came in the shape of an old salt who knew her 'back in the day' one day in 2008. We were hauled out in the Port Townsend Boatyard working on a long list of smaller and larger repairs. Port Townsend was the only yard in the region with a lift large enough to haul all of her 60 tons out of the water on their mammoth Travel Lift. Rich was working on the seams, standing on the scaffolding 15 feet up in the air. The hull's big belly stretched a full 20 feet from the ground to the top edge of the deck above him. An old sailor came up to him and, without preamble, asked if this was the Edward A Young in front of him. Upon receiving a Yes from Rich, he uttered this astonishing statement. "Well, sir, I was there the day she died." And indeed he had been! The old salt went on to tell Rich of that fateful day in 1969 in Tacoma's Foss Waterway when the Edward A. Young met her demise. For the first time. "She went into irons," he said. Rich, not familiar with this term, asked him what he meant. For a tugboat, this is a fatal maneuver. Normally the tug, the towline and the tow all line up with the tugboat pulling it all along straight. Sometimes, a situation develops when the tug tries to moves its tow into a different position but the tug's towline gets caught on the wrong side of the tug from the tow. Its much larger, heavier tow, pushed by current, wind or tides, moves away from the tug and the tug capsizes! (For a YouTube video of another tug in this kind of trouble, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgC2SOQNCTk). Well, my friends, was the end of the tugboat history of the Edward A. Young.