More than 100,000 Students Have Stepped Aboard the Canal System’s Flagship Tug for a Unique Educational Experience Since 1991  

For Immediate Release: 05/08/15

The 114-year old Tug URGER is back in service as a teaching tugboat on the Erie Canal, New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton announced today.

For the past 24 years, the URGER has served as a focal point of a program to educate fourth graders across the state about the importance of New York's historic Canal system and the role that the canal has played in the economic and social development of New York State.

"As this renowned tugboat begins a new season of serving as a floating museum and classroom to communities and schools along the New York State Canal corridor, the tug URGER does so with a unique perspective of over 100 years of experience that has left an everlasting imprint on the history of the Canal system," said New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. "I applaud Captain Jeff Kimes and the crew on board the URGER for their dedicated efforts to preserve and maintain a remarkable piece of the New York State Canal system's history year after year."

Originally put into service as a fishing boat in 1901, she earned the name 'URGER' for her 64 years of urging scows and barges along the Canal from 1922 through 1986. In 1991, the URGER began a new chapter in her storied life as a floating museum and classroom.

The 114-year old Tug URGER (by long-standing tradition, the name of the vessel is always written in all upper case letters) has navigated the waters of the New York State Canal system since 1922, and the Great Lakes before that. Her keel was laid 17 years before the current Canal system opened to vessel traffic in 1918.

"I am honored to be at the helm of this storied tugboat and grateful to have the opportunity to provide a unique educational experience that will help the next generation better understand the history of the Canal system," said URGER Captain Jeff Kimes. "The crew and I are excited to meet with students and visitors from across the state this year."

More than 100,000 school children have gone aboard the URGER during this time, and disembarked with a renewed sense of the Erie Canal's incredible legacy. Additionally, in recognition of the importance of environmental stewardship of our waterways, the URGER program also helps visiting students "connect the drops" – a way to illustrate the relationship between our activities and water quality.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles, the waterways link the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Niagara River and Lake Erie with communities rich in history and culture. For more information about the New York State Canal System, vacation opportunities and events call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit

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Christina Klepper
Office of Media Relations and Communications
(518) 471-5300