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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Specs and a little history.

The boat is 70 ft LOA (length overall) with a beam (width) of 16ft and a draft (what's under the water) of 8.5 ft. The cabin is only 8 ft wide, so it makes for a long narrow room. The tug is powered by an Enterprise DMG6 diesel engine. It's the tug's third engine and was installed in 1954. It still runs like a champ and even though it's the size of a Volkswagen bus, it is surprisingly fuel efficient. Remember tugboats are all about torque, not speed. The engine should burn about 6 gal. an hour at cruising speed (around 7-8 knots).

Iver was designed by L.H. Coolidge of Seattle built in 1925 by the Port Angeles Sand and Gravel CO. in Port Angeles, WA. She was called the Angeles and was used to tow gravel scows. She was completed in July of 1925 and for the next 10 months worked towing sand and gravel scows. In May of 1926 the Foss Tug and Barge Co. bought the assets of the Port Angeles Sand and Gravel Co. and with them acquired the Angeles. The tug was renamed Iver Foss, in honor of Foss Co. founder Andrew Foss' younger brother. For the next 47 yrs the Iver Foss worked the Puget Sound area towing gravel scows, log booms and chip/pulpwood barges. The Iver even towed barges to the Port Townsend paper mill.

The Iver Foss tows a chip barge to the Port Townsend paper mill

But it's most famous tow had to have been as part of the Namu Navy in 1965, towing the enclosure containing Namu the Killer Whale from British Columbia to Seattle. Namu was the one of the first Killer Whales in captivity and was on display on the Seattle waterfront.

The Iver Foss tows Namu through Dodds Narrows

A color photo of the Iver Foss in her Foss green paint, this is also from 1965

In August of 1972 Iver developed engine problems while towing chip scows to Port Townsend. Foss decided to put her in the yard and list her as surplus. In 1974 she was sold to Mr. L.H. Clark of Tenakee, AK. He renamed her Bonney Gal and she worked in Alaska for the next 3 yrs. Then she came back to Puget Sound and was re-christened Marilyn and put to work towing gravel scows for Lone Star Industries to their gravel pit in Steilacoom (below Tacoma) by Bob Waterman. Then she was bought by another small tug company owner, Gary Duff, who changed the A to an E and called her Merilyn after his wife. Gary Duff used to race the Merilyn in the tugboat races and frequently won, she was one of the fastest boats in her class.

The Merilyn pushes the Blueberry out of it's way during the Tug Races

Jason Belshe found her in the late '90's, sitting abandoned and forlorn with blackberry bushes growing into her side. He renamed the tug back to the original name, Angeles and spent the next 10 yrs restoring her and living aboard.

Jason on the Angeles sometime around 1999

Bill and I found her in September of 2009 after seeing an ad on craigslist. We weren't keen on the name Angeles but thought Iver sounded like a good Pacific Northwest Seattle tugboat name, so once again she is called Iver. The Foss company still uses Iver as a name for their boats, at the moment the Iver Foss III is working out of company headquarters in Seattle.


  1. Is there a chance that this tug was YTB-290 Conocan in WWII? My Uncle served on her and I have 2 really great pictures of Conocan. Thanks for your site!

  2. no sorry, the Iver was never an army tug. She's spent her entire life on the puget sound with a short foray down to the Columbia river sometime in the 30's or 40's to haul log booms.

  3. Gadziller - Here is the history on the Canocan YTB-290. I am looking into building a scale model of the Sea King.

    History/Notes: Fireboat replacement for Pearl Harbor. In her Navy days, she was Canocan YTB-290. In 1959, she was sold and was the Sea King in Everett, WA. In 1976, she was sold to Foss and renamed the Iver II Foss. In 1978, she came to Alaska and was renamed the Tagish. She has remained in Alaska ever since.
    Owner: Don Etheridge

    Can you email me the two pictures?
    My email is opbcy@yahoo.com

    They may help build my scale model boat.
    Than you for your time!

    1. Yes! Thanks for the info Brad! Will send along the photos as soon as able. :)

  4. Sorry, just now checked for comments on the blog. What photos did you want? I don't have any photos of the Tagish and that boat doesn't look like my boat, it's something like 30ft longer and an army tug.

  5. My Grandfather was Loyal Harley Clark (L. H. "Red" Clark) I spent many hours on her while in Tenakee AK. She was named the "Bonnie Gal" after my mother. Lots of great memories here and I wish you the best in your project. Also might have some old pictures somewhere I'll look around. akfireax@gmail.com I Also know the Tagish from growing up in Juneau and know the Etheridge family well.

  6. So so sorry to hear tonight's news. Hope the Iver is refloated. Best of wishes to you and Iver's future.

  7. Juli and Bill, So sorry to read of the loss of your boat. I am interested in one or two of your photos - can you please contact me (whalewriter7@gmail.com) Thanks.