Tugboats, also called tugs or towboats, are small but sturdy vessels that are primarily used to move large ships and barges. Tugboats are powerful enough to tow large ocean liners and freighters. Tugs are very versatile; they can tow from the front or the side, or push from the back. These are the boats that get things done, the boats that keep the world’s commerce moving. Today’s massive tankers and freighters would be helpless in port without tugboats to maneuver them. Tugboats and their crews move our products, remove out trash, fight harbor fires, pilot other vessels into and out of port and perform salvage and rescue operations. Watch tugs at work showing their mighty power from the end of Steamship Pier.
In its’ heyday, the New Bedford waterfront was a hub of activity with whalers tied up at the piers and tradesmen working their craft in related fishing and boating activities such as one sees at the festival today. Crews from the boats sometimes passed their shore time in friendly competition by racing their ship’s whaleboats in the harbor. On Saturday, the Buzzards Bay Rowing Club honors this old time tradition by hosting a one-mile whaleboat race beginning at 8:00 a.m. until noon. Teams will compete in several categories. The races often prove to be quite exciting as the competition is fierce and one never knows what surprises the wind and currents will provide.
Come bend an oar! The Buzzards Bay Rowing Club will offer free instructional rows. If you are at least 18 years of age and would like to try your hand at rowing, whaleboats will depart from Coast Guard Park from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
Whaling City Expeditions offer a 50-minute water tour of the New Bedford harbor. View the fishing fleet, Schooner Ernestina, the Hurricane Barrier, Palmer’s Island Lighthouse, Fort Phoenix, and Crow Island up close. Their tour features a detailed narrative on the working waterfront and the various fishing vessels utilizing the port including draggers, scallop, tuna and clam boats. This is a great chance for you to connect with our port and our heritage. Tours leave daily from the dock south of the Wharfinger Building on Pier 3 every hour on the hour from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gangway to the vessel.