TUGS AND TOWAGE
Tugs and the towing of ships holds a fascination for many people not only those connected to marine operations. People find them and their activities intriguing. They are an essential part of port operations today as they have been since the first tug.
I grew up in Falmouth and at an early age lived in a house overlooking customs house quay where the ports’ tugs came alongside to take on water and fuel. The tug company offices were on the quay. Later, in my first boat, we would go alongside the tugs moored in the harbour and occasionally get trips. The smells of hot engines were encapsulating. I would stand for ages watching the tugs moving ships in and out of the docks and there were the ocean going tugs including the “Turmoil” based in the port. Once away at sea seeing tugs in operation close up making them fast on departure or arrival in ports increased the fascination.
I never dreamt that I would later manage and operate tugs and was and am still thrilled to watch them safely manoeuvring ships in and out of Fowey and other ports. In the Harbour office at Fowey we would get many enquires about the tugs, their names, their history and of course the people who served on them. Before I retired I started writing the history of Towage in Fowey and of each tug. Time beat me, but in retirement the project has continued. I have been able to go through the Harbour Commissioners records thanks to the harbour master,Captain Paul Thomas, together with other records to source the history of each tug from start to end. It is an ongoing one because new information comes to light as the research continues. I hope people reading this will bring more details to be recorded for the future. In the meantime the history to date is published.