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CHESTER
Pictured as: the Point Breeze (Donaldson Towing) Photo courtesy of: Alamy.com

Built in 1902, by the Neafie and Levy Ship and Engine Building Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (hull #954) as the H. B. Chamberlain for the Boot, Dailey and Irving Company of New York, New York.

In 1906, the tug was acquired by the Atlantic Division of the Isthamian Canal Commission of Panama City, Panama. Where the tug was renamed as the Gatun.

She was based on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal construction. Towing mud barges and shifting other equipment. However, on September 26th, 1913. The Gatun was the first vessel to transit the Gatun Locks in the Panama Canal. Where she was lifted in from the Atlantic channel to the level of Gatun Lake. And, on September 26th, 1913 the tug repeated the process returning to the Atlantic channel.

In 1930, the tug was acquired by the Boot, Dailey and Irving Company of New York, New York. Where she was renamed as the H. B. Chamberlain.

In 1931, she was acquired by the Donaldson Towing and Lightering Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Where the tug was renamed as the Point Breeze.

She operated on runs to Baltimore, Maryland. While also performing harbor work, towing and assist jobs. On August 21st, 1933 the tug left Baltimore, Maryland for Gibson Island, Maryland. Towing a barge loaded with dredge spoils. As she was approaching the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. Located thirty miles from Baltimore. The tug encountered heavy winds and seas, and the crew was forced to abandon the tug. The light keeper, manning a small boat. Came to the aid of four men who had jumped from the tug as it sank. The body of the engineer was recovered as well. He had suffered a heart attack after he abandoned the tug. The tug was eventually raised, salvaged, and refurbished.

In 1934, the Donaldson Towing and Lightering Company renamed the tug as the Chester.

In 1957, she was acquired by the Curtis Bay Towing Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Where the tug retained her name. However, the tug was "laid up."

In 1958, the Curtis Bay Towing Company was acquired by the Moran Towing Company of New York, New York. However, the Curtis Bay Towing Company operated as an affiliate of the Moran Towing Company. Where the tug retained her name. In 1958, she was scrapped. The tug was single screw, rated at 550 horsepower.


  • Vessel Name: CHESTER
  • USCG Doc. No.: 096649
  • Vessel Service: TOWING VESSEL
  • Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted
  • Hull Material: WOOD
  • Hull Number: 954
  • Ship Builder: Neafie & Levy Ship & Engine Building Company
  • Year Built: 1902
  • Length: 91.0
  • Hailing Port: BALTIMORE, MD.
  • Hull Depth: 9.4
  • Hull Breadth: 25.2
  • Gross Tonnage: 164
  • Net Tonnage: 111
  • Previous Vessel Names:
    H. B. Chamberlain, Gatun, H. B. Chamberlain, Point Breeze, Chester
  • Previous Vessel Owners:
    Boot, Dailey and Irving Co, Isthamian Canal Commission, Panama Railroad Co., Boot, Dailey and Irving Co., Donaldson Towing and Lightering Co., Curtis Bay Towing Co., Moran Towing Co.