Last weekend marked the unofficial start of summer, when hundreds of boaters in the Philadelphia region put their vessels in the water. Delaware River Day was a perfect way to kick off the summer season. Produced by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Delaware River Day encourages conscientious boating practices, stresses the importance of marine safety measures and encourages waterway preservation along the Delaware River.
Delaware River Day took place at the Penn’s Landing Marina located directly behind the Independence Seaport Museum on Columbus Blvd. at Walnut Street. Delaware River Day was a FREE event with fun and interactive activities such as free kayaking, life jacket fitting, musical entertainment, free face painting for the kids and vessel tours. Delaware River Day included participating maritime organizations from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and was the only event of its kind scheduled in the area this season.
Some of the activities included a Blessing of the Fleet, hourly sailings aboard the Schooner Northwind, U.S. Coast Guard man overboard demonstrations and a Tug Boat Competition. The Tug Boat Competition took place off the South Quay at the Penn’s Landing Marina and included the McAllister Tugs, the K-Sea Tugs and the Tug Jupiter (2009 winner for “best decorated”) and Tug Wilmington, who took home the trophy for “toughest tug” last year.
I have to admit that I didn’t know what the “toughest tug” meant. However, as you will see in the short video below it is like a reverse “Tug of War.” First two Tugs ease up to each other bow to bow and then they start pushing against each other. Note that size doesn’t seem to matter. I guess it is all raw horsepower.
A number of other vessels participated in Delaware River Day including the WWII S.S. John Brown, the USCGC ship William Tate and the replica ships Niña and Pinta.
The S.S. JOHN BROWN is a maritime museum and a memorial to the shipyard workers who built, merchant mariners who sailed, and the U.S. Navy Armed Guard crews who defended the Liberty ships during World War II. It is one of only two surviving ships from the Liberty Fleet.
Since her commissioning in 2000, CGC WILLIAM TATE and her crew have been responsible for the maintenance of 250 buoys in the Delaware Bay and River, and the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The WILLIAM TATE is designed, constructed and equipped to ably perform other Coast Guard missions such as domestic ice breaking, marine environmental protection, and maritime law enforcement.
The Niña is the most historically accurate replica of the ship on which Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on his three voyages of discovery to the new world beginning in 1492. Columbus sailed the tiny ship over 25,000 miles. That ship was last heard of in 1501. The new Niña has a different mission. She is a floating museum that visits ports all over the Western Hemisphere.
The Pinta was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Niña on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel and offers larger deck space for walk-aboard tours and has a 40 ft air conditioned main cabin down below with seating. Pinta is available for private parties and charters.
I will report more on the visiting ships in a later posts.