Sunday, August 23, 2009

Under Tow A History of Tugs and Towing by Donal M Baird
Hardcover ISBN: 1551250764 Vanwell Publishing 2003
This book attempts to provide the development of the world tugboat industry from a historical perspective. With extensive use of illustrations, drawing and an easy to read text, author Donal M Baird has accomplished this.
Towing vessel development primarily stemmed from practical experience in Holland the British Isles. Although early efforts there seem limited by today’s standards, the tug really came into its own in the New World, especially in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions of North America.
A few minor errors were noted in the work:
On page 218 the hull of a former US Hog Island mercantile hull is misidentified as a sailing vessel
On page 238 a stage Hyundai and Seaspan publicity photo of the 400,000 DWT Hyundai Giant is captioned as a normal event. Hyundai Giant was an iron ore carrier, a kind of ship that doesn’t trade to Canada’s West Coast.
No mention of the Canadian National Energy Plan of the 1970s which resulted in a building boom of tugs for Arctic service.
Pages 25-36 are upside down; hopefully this was just limited to the review copies.
This book is well worth purchasing just for the excellent photographs and drawings. The research and effort evident in the text makes this the complete book on the subject to date.

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