Saturday, May 16, 2015

This Is No Desk Job!

What does your husband's desk look like? Well, this isn't MY husband's desk, but it is another lady's husband's desk....welcome to the wheelhouse of a tug boat.

All of those levers and knobs and pully-downy-thingies confused me, so my sweet Hubs decided he would break it down for me, using little words. :)

 See those little numbers I inserted in the picture? That's going to make it easier for me to explain what each of these doohickeys and thingamabobs and pully-downy-things are. Now before you get excited and begin to think I know something about this, let me assure you my sweet man is right beside me as I type....making sure I don't royally screw this up.

1. The two numbers ones next to the red lights are RPM gauges.
These instruments measure the rotation speed of the shaft that is turning the propeller and displays the information as how many revolutions are made per minute. Basically, they show how fast the shaft is turning. The shaft is about a foot in diameter and make over 500 rotations per minute. 

2. The number two is one I might could have figured out on my own. It's a navigation screen. The program they use is called Coastal Explorer.  It shows the location of other ships, buoy markers, docks and other stuff in the river. The river can be a dark place at night and visibility can be really bad during fog and rain. This way we don't have head on collisions :)

3. These are the big brother cameras. JUST JOKING!!! These cameras show the Captain the deck, galley, etc. This way he can keep an eye on everything that is happening while he is navigating. One camera shows the starboard side of the tug. When hubs is working a trip line, which is a line that is used to hold the tug against the current,  the Captain can see if the deckhand gets accidentally caught up in the line. The other camera shows the stern of the ship. It is used to watch out when a Hawser, a 12 strand rope, is used. This entails pulling 300 ft of this heavy rope up onto the stern of the tugboat. If hubby were to fall during this, he would be sucked up under the tug or get trapped between the tug and the ship...either of which could be deadly.  The third camera is aimed into the engine room. This helps the Captain monitor any alarms and other situations.

4, OOOOO! OOOO! I know! *waves hand frantically in the air* This green looking thing is the side of a huge container ship. Yep. All up close and personal.

5. This is a compass. Once again, navigation is complicated.

6. There are two of these little guys....they control the wench. What is a wench you ask? It's a deckhand's best friend.This is a mechanical wheel of sorts that pulls the line in mechanically, thus saving a LOT of work.

7. There are two of these bad boys too.  These are throttles. In my mind, they are the revving up thingies. The throttle controls how much power the engine gets...kind of like the gas pedal in a car.

8. Again, good things come in pairs. There are two of these guys too. Meet our friends, The Rudder Brothers. They steer the boat.

9. These are twin air controls. These control which set of throttles is being used.

10. This is the radar, which is another means of seeing where things are. You can see where the river banks are and other objects in the river.

11. This is the steering wheel. HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Did you fall for that? If you did, then go back and read point #8. This is called a "clearview". It is the tugboat's answer for windshield wipers. It spins to clear the window of fog and rain.

12.I put these in by accident....ignore them :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Close To Home

I have to admit it, I get discouraged blogging sometimes. It seems that no one reads my posts, because no one comments .I know it seems silly and shallow but I feel validated with comments on my blog. I often wonder if anyone out there even reads what I write. But then I look at my stats and I see that PEOPLE ARE READING WHAT I WRITE!!!!!!

Imagine my joy the other day when I saw emails indicating I had comments on my blog! Not just one comment, but several!!!!

Closer inspection revealed that the commenter was not just another woman, but another tugboat wife....AT THE SAME COMPANY AS MY HUBBY!!!!!

We have since connected on Facebook.

Small world, huh????

P.S. Hi Dawn! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Maybe I should say the biggest news in history?

At least....the biggest ship in the history of the Savannah River....

My man sent me these pictures of the ZIM vessel Tianjin as she made her way up the river yesterday. Here she is, in all her glory!

Our amazing dispatcher Frankie shared these photos:


This beauty carries 10,062 twenty-foot equivalent container units.The ship measures 1,145 feet long by 150 feet wide. Stood on end, it would stand nearly as tall as the Empire State Building (1,454 feet, including its antenna).

 You can watch videos, see more photos and get more info here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saint Patrick's Day On The River

In contrast to the mayhem of our city as they celebrate a 4 day weekend of revelry and only Savannah can celebrate Saint Patrick's Day........

River Street (Photo is from WJCL News)

The fountain in Forsyth Park is dyed green for the holiday


(2 above photos found on Google Image Search)

The work on the tugboats keeps on as usual...with just a little color and Irish flair :)


I am not sure why the flag of Ireland is flying higher than the flag of our country, but it may just be the angle of this photo.

**** Clarification.....the Flag of Ireland is flying above Old Glory for the day only....and the reason it is higher than Old Glory is because the flag was too big to fit on the staff under the American Flag.  The American Flag has a designated place it is flown on the tugs and flies at all times. The only other place to attach the Flag of Ireland was on a temporary pole, hence it's placement for the day.****

This view is looking out the back window of the wheelhouse.


As I am posting this...Tug Georgia is assisting a ship upriver that is dead in the water. No engine power makes it veeeeeeery difficult for a ship to navigate on it's own.

Work goes or not.


Here is a YouTube video I's from a couple of years ago but it gives you a good idea of what is going on today. And look....there is one of the little yellow tugboats! This is Tug Bulldog in the video. My man worked on that tug in the past, but now he is on Tug Georgia.


Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!!!





Saturday, February 14, 2015

Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Hail.....

The old slogan says "Neither rain ,nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail...nothing stops the US Mail!" While I am not so sure that still applies today, what with the rate our packages and bills arrive it is no wonder they call it snail mail!

Did you know the same can be said for tugboats and ships? Yep. It sure can! matter how hard...the man dons his rain gear and goes out to pull lines and help dock ships. Whether a little shower or a real gulley washer, they work.

Snow? Well, that isn't really an issue where we live, but sleet and ice show up pretty regularly. Does that stop them? Nope. They wear steel toed boots with good traction and walk carefully on the nonskid applied on deck. (They apply and reapply that stuff regularly.)

Hail? Nope. Not that either. That only happens here once in a while too, but if it comes, they work. Good thing for those hard hats huh?

Lightening popping around? Cloud to ground strikes? Nope, they don't blink an eye. They go out on steel decks and pull lines, throw lines, turn wenches, catch lines and whatever else has to be done. We get a lot of lightening here, tons of bolts and strikes, especially during the summer when it's so freakin' hot and the afternoon rain comes.

So does ANYTHING stop ships and tugboats?
Yep. Bet you can't guess what it is!

It's fog.

Yep. Fog. Misty, mysterious, enveloping and a little creepy.....fog. It is great in a horror movie or on Halloween, or for getting really cool photos of the moon, but not so great for visibility. That's when they stop.

When visibility is too low, the river pilots make the executive decision and they close the river. That means nothing goes in and nothing goes out. Giant ships wait offshore until the river opens, and ships in port wait for the clearance to depart. The river is quiet. Tugboats are at the dock. All is calm.

Until.....the fog lifts. It may lift in a couple of hours, or it may take a night or so. When it lifts though, Katie bar the door. All those ships are paying for extra dock time, and all those ships waiting to come in are losing money and time just sitting. It's no holds barred for the tugboats then....the extra rest they got while the river was closed is soon used up. They work steady until all ships are either docked and unloading cargo, or they are out and on their way to the next port.

River life. Unpredictable and crazy at times. Exciting and challenging. Hard work. But every once in a while, I get to catch a glimpse of the foggy river and it is indeed beautiful. Mysterious, slow, heavy and wet....fog can stop everything in it's tracks.

This is the MSC Marianna coming upriver, just before it closed one cold December 2014 day.
  Without fog she looks like this:
She's a pretty big girl...
Gross Tonnage: 73819
Deadweight: 85806 t
Length × Breadth: 304m × 40m
So hard for me to imagine those little yellow tugboats moving this thing! 
Speaking of little yellow tugboats, here is my man's tug...Tug Georgia sitting at the dock in fog. 
Behind them is the river, and beyond that is the wood chip dock. Can't see it? That's why the river is closed :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A New Tattoo?

 What do you think?

No...I am not getting tatted up. No ink for me, although Deck Boss has a couple of tattoos himself. Ok, maybe a couple is not the right word. Fifteen is the correct word, to be precise.

Anyway, while I have been battling some health nonsense, I have spent A LOT of time trawling the interwebz. I use my phone most often, but sometimes I resort to dragging myself into the living room and working on the desktop pc when my phone aggravates me and makes me cuss crazy. I am a night owl by nature, and inhaled steroid medications make me hyper so late nights with restless mind syndrome have become the norm for me. I Google and Google image search things like "merchant mariner" and "tugboats" and "tugboat wife" (where this very blog comes up about a 100 times with pictures) "merchant mariner wife" (Where the blog Callie's Mariner comes up about 1,000,000 times! Check out this blog at She is so cool. I want to be her when I grow up)

A few days ago, Deck Boss posted the photo above to my Facebook wall. I loved it immediately. I wish the image was of higher resolution so I could have it made into a t-shirt. It would make a stellar, totally awesome tattoo, if I were so inclined to participate in the inking of my body. But I think I will leave the ink to Deck Boss and less permanent things like eye liner and mascara to me.....although I hear you can get those tatted on now too.....but I am not brave enough to try it!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Really Cool Reading!

While nursing my addiction scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across a suggested page to "like". It looks like this:

Well, if you know me, you know that caught my eye! I had to investigate.
I scrolled.
I read.
I ooed and aaahed.
I "stretched to enlarge" pictures.
I may have drooled a little.

Between my love of the water, the love of my mariner and my love of photography, I think I hit the jackpot on this one.

I came across this picture, with credit given to Brian Swartzbaugh:
The caption reads: "You think you have a tough time managing certain spaces in your SUV? Imagine pushing this load around corners on the river."

And this photo...which made me so thankful my man stays ON the tugboat instead of scampering around between the tug and a cargo ship....

If you have time, check out the Seamen's Church Institute on Facebook. There are some really neat articles and up close photos of maritime action! Or check them out online at

Have a great day!