Skip to content

Delaware

Delaware awaiting her next tow on Broad Creek, a branch of the meandering Nanticoke River, c. 1930. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Bethel Historical Society.
Delaware awaiting her next tow on Broad Creek, a branch of the meandering Nanticoke River, c. 1930. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Bethel Historical Society.

Large sailing vessels carrying cargoes of lumber, wheat, fertilizer, and coal, were common on the Chesapeake Bay until the 1930s. With its narrow, winding rivers and shallow harbors, many of the Bay’s waterways were difficult to maneuver. Tugs like Delaware met the larger vessels and towed them nimbly into port or up rivers. By doing this, tugs prolonged the economic viability of large sailing vessels on the Bay. Today, with the expansion of coastwise trade, most freight is carried by tug and barge.

Built: 1912, Bethel DE by William H. Smith

Length: 39 ft, 8 in (12.13 m)

Beam: 11 ft, 4 in (3.47 m)

Delaware, river tug, 1912. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. Gift of Bailey Marine Construction, Inc. 1991-3-1.

Donations to the Annual Fund generously support the maintenance of Delaware, as well as our other restoration, education, and exhibition programs.

See more of Delaware in this Flickr album:
Floating Fleet: Delaware, 1912 River Tug