We are proud that the Patty Nolan is an historic vessel and one of the oldest operating tugboats in the New York City area. We are just as proud that the Patty is not a museum piece and continues to earn her living as a tug.
The Patty was built in Superior Wisconsin in 1931 by the predecessor to Merrit Chapman and Scott, a well known construction firm in the Great Lakes. The picture to the left shows the Patty when she was launched. The Patty was designed as a day boat or yard boat to move barges and equipment around construction sites or for short distances. While her low freeboard makes her unsuitable for offshore work, her heavy construction (up to 3/4" plate in some places) allows her to work in ice or with much larger and heavier barges than other small boats.
The History of the Patty Nolan
Originally the Patty had a large low speed diesel engine of 200 horsepower. This was replaced in the late 1950s by a Cummins NRM 6 which develops 325 hp at 1800 rpm. This second engine is still powering the Patty over 50 years later. The Patty was sold by Merrit Chapman to a dive and salvage operator in New Jersey in 1970. The picture to the left shows her condition in 1990. She was subsequently sold to the present owners in 1992 and underwent a substantial overhaul including new pilothouse steel and windows, new dual voltage electrical systems, new fuel tanks, a new stern and a new steering quadrant. Additional work has upgraded the entire boat by adding modern hydraulic steering, an autopilot, new electronics, a new generator, new keel cooling systems, new fuel systems, new fendering and other equipment. A no discharge head and freshwater system has been added as well as air conditioning in the bunkroom and pilothouse.
Finally, the question we are always asked is "Who is Patty Nolan?". We have never been able to find out who that person was.