two thousand twenty
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"Grouper" tugboat was purchased on eBay
SUBMITTED by Robert Stopper (8-Dec-2011)

When Alan Baker and his family left the North Slopes of Alaska and headed south in their converted Greyhound bus, they were not exactly sure what they would see when they reached their final destination, the banks of the Erie Canal in Lyons, New York.

Alan had recently purchased a boat–and not just any boat. It was an old rusty tugboat, built in 1912, that had a rich history, but it had been asleep on the Erie Canal waters for several years.

Alan had read many blogs about the abandoned Tugboat, and he knew that rusty parts would need new welding, many wires would need to be reconnected, and the engine would certainly need a powerwash and a hygienic cleanup before he and the family could go cruising and sleep aboard– maybe a few months of work or maybe even a year. Alan’s wife was already dreaming of a color scheme and a new name for the newly acquired tug.

Finally, after many, many miles on the highway, Alan and his family arrived at the canal banks in Lyons, and there she was, still floating and bobbing in the waters. Said Alan, “So this is it–“the Grouper”–she is afloat–time to get to work and beat the snow–and to think that I bought it on eBay!”


Grouper family

Grouper in Lyons, NY on 19 November 2011

Grouper owner Alan Baker


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14 Comments to "“The Grouper” Along the Erie Canal"

  1. Gerry Benedict Said,

    Ah...that explains it. I saw this old tug boat just west of the Lyons' dry dock complex on one of my long Sunday walks. Neat.

    Posted on Tue Dec 13, 07:00:00 AM EST

  2. jeff Said,

    Any progress yet ?

    Posted on Fri Sep 05, 10:47:00 PM EDT

  3. Unknown Said,

    & there she still sits. rotting and almost 2016.....I think he bit of more than he could eat...I expect do find out that it flooded and sank one day...such a shame that a 100 year old tug ( baptised Gary & spent most of its life as the Greenbay) would die this way

    Posted on Fri Nov 13, 09:36:00 PM EST

  4. Unknown Said,

    I was out bid on E bay by this guy, I still want the boat, Peter3611@Yahoo.com

    Posted on Tue May 17, 10:47:00 PM EDT

  5. Unknown Said,

    2016 & she's still floating....when will the State seize her...somebody save her before she sinks..

    Posted on Tue Aug 09, 01:49:00 PM EDT

  6. Unknown Said,

    what is needed is a group of volunteers to save her...So much is required it would break the bank of just one.... We need a save the tugboat non profit group

    Posted on Tue Aug 09, 01:52:00 PM EDT

  7. Unknown Said,

    My grandfather the capt.my father was the deck hand with him as well. I now am a Capt. Back in Green Bay wi. And want to get the tug back to green bay.

    Posted on Tue Dec 20, 11:00:00 PM EST

  8. Unknown Said,

    Please contact me if possible on any info on her.



    Posted on Tue Dec 20, 11:01:00 PM EST

  9. Unknown Said,

    I was wondering if that tug had an owner. I've seen it sitting there for five years now. Any idea if he's gonna finish it?

    Posted on Tue Jun 20, 11:39:00 AM EDT

  10. Joe Said,

    In 2001, I was on the crew on that tug with the owner when it pulled out of the marina in Lyons on the way to Nerk. Once in the canal, the Captain turned the helm over to me, as he & his son performed maintenance and worked on the boiler for water to pump into the hard hat wetsuits for the divers. Our job was to build the "Warf", Riverwalk on the canal. We drilled 5' casions (sp) 40' deep for "H" columns to support the stone face concrete panels. Construction stopped as we waited for one of two Italian rigs in the world, to arrive from Brazil. The job was over 800 ft long between the bridges in downtown Nerk. After panels were in place, over a thousand tons of boulders, from grapefruit size to boulders that would not fit in a pick-up truck, for three months. I loved that 2' square tamper, as I would push & pull it on top of any rock, and make it sink into the mud. As we got closer to the top, we used granite rip rap. then ten inches of concrete. The handicap ramp & staircase is another story, including a broken water line, and ice fishing with a long reach excavator, & dowsing for utilities...!The "Super' was a young fellow who worked on wharfs in the Gulf of Mexico. He was staying at the "Roundtowner across the street. He spent time in the bar every night. At Lunchtime with the crew, one day, he asked me where West Pearl Street was? I said the only places there were the phone company & the whore house, and I said...."Waddaya wanna do, "reach out & touch someone..!" It was one of my favorite jobs, excellent crew.!

    Posted on Sun Jan 27, 12:05:00 AM EST

  11. Joe Said,

    PS, The Riverwalk. TO THIS day, at the top of the handicap ramp, where the wall meets the embankment lived a woodchuck right next to the outflow of a surface water drain line. a
    As of Labor day-2018, lives his great, great, great grand chuck ! (I'm guess'n at the # of Greats)

    Posted on Sun Jan 27, 12:15:00 AM EST

  12. Joe Said,

    PSS, If you love your work, and enjoy your job, ya get up in the morning & you don't go to work, ya go play! I did for forty years !
    Joe Maressa, designer/ inventer

    Posted on Sun Jan 27, 12:31:00 AM EST

  13. Unknown Said,

    It's June of 2019 the grouper still sits in drydock.

    Posted on Thu Jun 06, 06:55:00 PM EDT

  14. Unknown Said,

    The Grouper is up for auction, ending today. Details at https://www.auctionsinternational.com/auction/24755/item/1912-great-lakes-towing-co-tug-grouper-boat-153610

    Posted on Mon Jun 28, 12:36:00 PM EDT


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