McAllister boosts size of new escort tug at Port Everglades


Glowing in biblical light, the tug Tate McAllister was transiting out of the Port Everglades entrance channel, bound for the sea buoy and the 758-foot CCNI Valparaiso, steaming inbound. 

As the containership came abreast at 10 knots, Capt. Terry Briggs swung Tate into the ship’s wake and deck hand Albert James put a center lead line up to the ship’s stern. Meanwhile, the tug Vicki M. McAllister glided into position on the ship’s port bow and put a line up.

As the flotilla entered the narrow channel, the tugs began braking the ship. At the turning basin, Briggs shifted Tate to the port quarter and pushed on the stern while Vicki pulled on the bow, turning the ship 110 degrees into the Intracoastal Waterway. The tugs then ran with the ship to Southport, turned it and backed it into Berth 30.

The 93-by-38-foot Tate McAllister, delivered last October, was designed and built by Washburn & Doughty of Maine. The shipyard bumped up the dimensions of its proven 92-by-32-foot azimuthing stern drive design. The extra six feet of beam created much more space for crew comfort and for the installation of two large and powerful EMD 12-710 Tier 3 main engines, generating a total 6,000 hp and 80 tons of bollard pull. 

The tug has a raised stern deck, housing two Schottel SRP 1515 z-drives and two Tier 3 99kW John Deere gensets in the z-drive room.

“The engine room is well laid out and the poop deck allows for so much more room in the Z room,” said Scott Badenski, chief engineer. “And having the generators at the stern in the Z room makes them much quieter throughout the tug. When we shut the mains off, it’s like being on shore power.”

Chief engineer Scott Badenski checks his monitoring system. 

To accommodate the larger exhaust silencers for the Tier 3 EMD system, the shipyard redesigned the proportions of the stacks and pilothouse to match the distinctive McAllister look. It’s a look that Capt. Brian McAllister, patriarch of the storied towing family, insists on.

There is a JonRie 250 Escort auto-tensioning winch on the bow and stern, each wound with 8-inch Samson Saturn-12 hawser line.

The firefighting system consists of 500 gallons of AFF foam and two FFS monitors with foam injection. The C18 fire pump engine delivers 3,000 gallons per minute.

“The Tate is the third 93-foot tug that we installed EMD engines in, and the second one that we fitted with soft-mounted engines,” said Bruce Washburn of Washburn & Doughty. “She is also the first to have box coolers for the EMD main engines, which really cleans up the bottom of the boat.”

“It’s a great boat,” said Port Everglades pilot Capt. Bruce Cummings. “We like to put the Tate­­­ on the bigger ships to slow them down. She’s a really great boat to work the bigger ships we’re getting now.”


One of the tug’s two EMD 12-710 main engines.


Capt. Terry Briggs at the controls of Tate McAllister, with a line up on the 892-foot containership Monte Tamaro at Florida’s Port Everglades.


The boat’s angled staple allows it to handle the shear of modern ships. 


The tug’s JonRie 250 hydraulic hawser winch, with Samson Saturn-12 line through the H-bitt and staple.


A Schottel z-drive unit aboard Tate McAllister.


The tug heads out of Port Everglades harbor to rendezvous with the containership CCNI Valparaiso.


By Professional Mariner Staff