enclosed six-passenger launch, an exUSCG 19.9-ft. 15-passenger rigid inflatable, a 16 ft. Zodiac rigid inflatable, a 30,000 lb. rubber tired crane with 60-ft. boom, various welding machines generators, trash pumps of various shapes and sizes, a barge 120 x 30 x 9, and a mooring. There is also a compressor and scuba gear sufficient for two divers. So, depending on how things develop, a lot of young fellers could learn various aspects of maritime industry, if they don't mind driving past mountains of sand and the sound of gunshots on the way to work. New Bridgework How it all comes together in real-world tugboating, or at least could, or at least once did, was illustrated last March 20 and 21, when the assignment was to position a barge precisely, three times, beneath the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. Each of three 30,000-lb to 120,000-lb.assemblies could then be lifted by cranes on the bridge, straight up into position, 135 ft. above. The construction foreman asked for a probe of the water's depth as the tide was still rising, eager to start as early as possible. Those were cold days, gusty and unpleasant. There was still snow on the ground, though most of it had drained into the river. The Charles moved-in toward the bridge abutment, when she began acting strangely. It was like she was -- not very hard, but enough so you'd notice -- wobbling. "The wheel picked something up," Capt. Vinik said, and ordered the diving gear. About 25 ft. of sunken containment Sam Zapadinsky as mate makes a note for Capt. Stuart Davidson during a moment of attention abord the Dorothy Elizabeth somewhere around New York. (Photo: Don Sutherland) to look everywhere and be ready to be anywhere." But tugboating courses are not broadly taught in the established academies. Where do you start a life on the harbor, and having started, where again is that ladder? A lot remains to be worked-out, but Vinik Marine in the past year has adopted some trappings of a self-lubricating machine. Besides the Charles, the company has acquired a small 500 hp pusher, the Teri Lou , ex-Little Nick, and a dinner boat, the Venture. The crew is busy fixing both. Set along a bulkhead near disused hopper barges of Amboy Aggregate, operators of the Sandmaster, about a thousand feet from the Police firing range, the company's yard has equipment that adds up to a fair maritime facility -- a 26-ft. boom had wrapped itself around the tug's drive -- wrapped, and re-wrapped as pollution, from an anti-pollution device. It would have to be cut off. Sawn more than sliced. In four or five places. Capt. Vinik requested something with a serrated edge, like a steak knife. He gave that a try, and resurfaced -- any better ideas? Everything up to hacksaws was presented, and four or five dives later, Capt. Vinik returned with his trophy, about four feet of faded yellow substance. The rest had been hacked to bits to get it off the shaft. While he was down there he noticed something else, and with one more dive emerged with a gleaming, 40-pound stainless steel propeller nut cover. "We hadn't been drydocked," said Capt. Vinik. "Of eight bolts holding it, only three were left and they had been stripped." With the Charles at a right angle to the Dorothy, collectively two single-screw tugs with a barge alongside, Capt. Vinik had a sort of dynamic-positioning system that could move left and right, fore and aft, and sideways on order. It took a lot of lines, and guys to work them, and a lot of running and jumping. We watched Capt. Zapadinsky get down to the main deck the old-fashioned way, over the rail of the boat deck, down the nearest porthole, and off toward a bitt that needed tending. It's probably old hat to a large population, but it's not something a simulator could teach. Where do you learn how to do it? It's the harbor's odd jobs that keep the place humming, and the new old Charles Oxman has a role laid-out for its fourth incarnation. Alike from a distance for their colors, you don't have to be too close to know the Charles from the Dorothy. A visor for the Charles has been discussed. (Photo: Don Sutherland) 24 · MarineNews · May, 2007
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