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New York State Canals

The Tug Urger

A Photo of the Tug UrgerThe tugboat “Urger” is the flagship of the fleet of vessels operated by the New York State Canal Corporation on the 524-mile Canal System.

Built in 1901 in Ferrysburg, Michigan, this venerable tug is one of the oldest working vessels in the country still afloat. Originally built for use as a commercial shipping vessel, the “Urger” was originally christened the “Henry J. Dornbos,” after a prominent Michigan merchant. She was described in the Detroit Free Press as the “finest fishing boat in the local fishing fleet.”

In the early 1920s, the tug was sold, renamed the “Urger,” and entered the New York State Canal fleet. Stationed in Waterford, the “Urger” served more than 60 years hauling machinery, dredges and scows on the Erie and Champlain Canals until she was retired from service in the 1980s.

A New Life as a “Teaching Tug”

In 1991, the “Urger” was called back into service with a new mission. She now serves as the focal point of a program to educate school children and adults about the importance of New York's historic Canal System and the role that inland waterways have played historically, and continue to play, in the lives of people who live along them.

The Tug UrgerIn the spring and fall, the “Urger” visits communities  along the Canal System where students in fourth-grade classes at local schools take field trips to the Tug and participate in shoreside “hands-on” educational sessions. There they learn about the history of the Canals and the role construction of the Erie Canal played in making New York the “Empire State.”

The educational program is presented by the New York State Canal Corporation at no charge to the participating schools.

Promoting the Canals as a “Touring Tug”

During summer, the “Urger” cruises to numerous cities, towns and villages along the Canal System where she and her four-member crew serve as ambassadors for New York's Canals at community festivals celebrating their Canal heritage.

2015 Tug Urger Schedule

Graphic Representation of Tugboat Urger

Spring schedule:

  • May 4-5 – Albany – Jennings Landing - Corning Preserve
  • May 6-7 – Troy – Troy Downtown Marina – 433 River Street
  • May 8 & 11– Waterford - Above Lock 2 - 5th Street Side
  • May 15 – Waterford Flight of Five Centennial Celebration
  • May 16 – Waterford Canalfest - Above Lock 2 (P)
  • May 19 - Whitehall – Behind Fire House next to Museum
  • May 21– Schuylerville – Lock 5 - Off Rt. 4, North of Town
  • May 27 – Niskayuna – Lock 7 - Off Rosendale Rd.
  • May 29 – Amsterdam – Riverlink Park
  • June 2– Fort Plain – Lock 15 – Otsquago Club Rd.
  • June 3 – Little Falls – Rotary Park
  • June 5 – Marcy – Lock 20 - North Side
  • June 7 – Sylvan Beach - Rt. 13 Bridge (P)
  • June 8 – Sylvan Beach – Under Rt. 13 Bridge
  • June 10 – Baldwinsville – Above Lock 24 – Water St. Side
  • June 12 – Phoenix – Bridge House
  • June 15 – Fulton – Below Lock 3 – East Side
  • June 16-17 – Oswego – Above Lock 8 – East Side

Fall schedule:

  • September 18 – Seneca Falls – Cowing Street behind museum
  • September 24 – Tonawanda – south side near Boater's Visitor Center, floating dock
  • September 28 - Lockport – Upston Park – north side
  • September 30 – Medina – south side behind NAPA
  • October 2 - Albion – north wall near Main Street, east of lift bridge
  • October 6 - Holley – south side near Boater's Visitor Center
  • October 8 – Brockport – south wall near Visitor Center
  • October 13 – Spencerport – north wall
  • October 15-16 – Fairport – north wall near Visitor Center
  • October 21 – Newark – north wall near Boater's Visitor Center
  • October 22 – Weedsport – near Devaney's Restaurant

Note: Information and dates a subject to change. For program information call 518-436-3055.
(P) Indicates open for free public tours.

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History/Education

Tug Urger
Program Info
518-436-3055

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