Seneca tugboat passes through Albion on educational journey

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – A tugboat named Seneca approaches the Main Street lift bridge in Albion this morning. The tugboat then passed underneath and headed east.

ALBION – Tugboat fans in Orleans County are getting a chance to see an unfamiliar vessel today. The Tugboat Seneca is passing through our waters, heading east.

The tugboat, built in 1932, is filling in for the Tugboat Urger, with has been dry-docked for repairs. The Urger is the Canal Corporation’s floating classroom, making stops along the system for public tours and visits from fourth-graders learning about state history.

With the Urger out of commission, the Seneca was called into duty as the canal’s educational ambassador. The tug is typically based out of the Syracuse area.

The Seneca just completed its educational mission in Tonawanda and is headed to Fairport.

The Canal Corp. has biography sketches of the tugboats on its web site (Visit to see more photos and information about the Seneca.) The tugboat was built 81 years ago by Electric Boat Corp for the Navy. She was designated YTL-479 (Yard Tug, Light) and worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was bought by state DOT in 1960 and is now owned by Canal Corp.

The canal is scheduled to stay open until Nov. 15, when the 363-mile-long canal will then be drained and the lift bridges closed.