Save New York's Historic Canal Vessels

The future of New York's historic canal fleet is uncertain. Please join the campaign to save the National Register-listed Tug Urger and other historic vessels!

Photo by Kathy Polino

Photo by Kathy Polino

The New York State Canal Corporation, under the New York Power Authority (NYPA), has plans to disable and beach the tugboat Urger, flagship of the Erie Canal and beloved “teaching tug.” This vessel has introduced thousands of school children and members of the public to New York's navigable waterways, reinforcing the role of the Erie Canal in making New York the Empire State.

Tug Urger used to travel up and down the canal system for school field trips and public events. Now the Canal Corporation and NYPA want to pull it from the water and make it a dry-land exhibit at a NYS Visitor Center off the Thruway in Montgomery County. NYPA's plans would permanently disable the Urger and prevent it from returning to service.

Join the conversation: #SaveTheUrger

The New York State Canal System has been designated a National Historic Landmark due to its span, scope, and historic integrity.

  • The historic vessels related to the NYS Canal System are a significant component of the system’s integrity.

  • The National Historic Landmark designation recognizes the importance of the canal fleet and canal vessels to the New York State Canal System.

  • Several canal vessels are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Tug Urger, referred to as “the flagship of the fleet of vessels operated by the New York State Canal Corporation on the 524-mile Canal System.”


Launched in 1901, the Urger entered canal service in 1921. For more than sixty years, she moved barges, dredges, and derrick boats on the Erie and Champlain canals. Retired from heavy work around 1984, she returned to active service in 1991 as an ambassador for New York’s Canal System, calling at ports from New York City to the Canadian border and west to Lake Erie. She was the traveling centerpiece for countless canal festivals and events across the state and hosted over 100,000 students on school field trips during a 25-year period. Listed on the National Register since 2001, she is one of the oldest operable tugboats in the country.

The Urger, New York’s beloved teaching tug, deserves a better future than being beached at a Thruway rest stop.