The W.O. Decker is a fine example of a wooden tugboat that plied the waters of New York Harbor. The W.O. Decker was built in 1930 in Long Island City, Queens, New York. She was originally called the Russell I when she belonged to her original owners, the Newtown Creek Towing Company. In 1946, she was sold to the Decker Towing Company of Staten Island, New York and was renamed W.O. Decker.

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In 1968 she was again sold – this time to Dock, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut and was renamed the Susan Dayton. In 1986, the tug was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan and was again called the W.O. Decker. The W.O. Decker was originally a steam tug but at some point in her life she was refitted with a diesel engine.

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The W.O. Decker is fully restored and operational and makes regular four- and six-hour excursions exploring New York Harbor. For further information, you can check with the South Street Seaport Museum. When I took these photos, the W.O. Decker was moored next to the Lightship Ambrose, which is another member of the Museum's fleet and also the subject of a ship tour on this site. (This tour originally appeared on Mr. Bustelo’s International Maritime Modeling Web Site.)

Gross Tonnage:

27 tons

Net Tonnage:

18 tons


52 ft. overall


15 ft.


5.6 ft.


6 ft.