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Submitted by:  Bob Stopper, Lyons

The Lyons Drydock on the Erie Canal has been a “din” of activity during recent months. Welding, repairing, painting, refurbishing, and engine noises are all part of the annual routine in anticipation of the canal opening for another season.

Tug Seneca
One of the vessels ready for the new season is the Tug Seneca. The tug, now piloted by Captain Steven Wunder, was originally constructed in 1932 for the US Navy.  It is now used as the “horse” to move canal maintenance equipment, and the “power” is provided by two 220 Cummins diesel engines. The tug is also used in dredging and tree removal operations and as a large scale tanker supplying fuel to remotely located equipment along the canal.

Another type of vessel at the Lyons drydock is the SPS-54, the “Sea Mule”. The Sea Mule is a motorized scow with a unique motorized crane. The crane is used to pick and set buoys. It is also frequently used to remove debris and large trees from the canal. The Sea Mule is captained by Lora Lyman, assisted by a crew of three.
Sea Mule

Just a glance at the pulleys, cables, and crane of the derrick boat DB 2A tells you it is a mean and tough machine. With “Captain Red” behind the controls, the derrick boat lifts and sets stones along the canal, and it can easily lift and remove a full sized tree which might have fallen into the canal from a severe storm or just plain old age.  The DB 2A cannot move by itself- it needs a tugboat for power.  
Derric Boat

When boats are docked in the drydock, they sit on supports called benches. This arrangement  allows an inspection  literally from top to bottom. The floor of the drydock is truly dry!

Another winter “benchsitter” in the drydock in Lyons is the Emita II, owned by the Wiles family and operated as part of the Mid-Lakes Navigation Co., Ltd of Skaneateles, NY.  The Emita II is a refitted Casco Bay Ferry. This double-decker is 65 feet long, 22 feet wide and can carry 42 passengers.  In operation since 1968, the Emita II offers entertainment cruises as well as one, two, and three day cruises on New York Canals.  www.midlakesnav.com

Emita II

In a few days, the above named vessels will leave the Lyons drydock and become part of the 2012 navigation season. The din of repair and maintenance will now be  replaced by the  gurgle of the motor, the swishing of moving waters, and the sparkle of newly painted vessels- beautiful  sights and sounds of the Erie Canal!


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2 Comments to "Lyons Drydock- Sights and Sounds Along the Erie Canal"

  1. Gerry Benedict Said,

    Great post - informative and not advertising about life in our "neck of the woods".

    Thanks for posting.

    Posted on Thu Apr 12, 06:25:00 AM EDT

  2. Unknown Said,

    Whats the story on the tug boat tied to the sea wall on the west end of lock 28B. looks like she has been out of service a while. Still floating.

    Posted on Thu Dec 03, 08:39:00 AM EST


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