The “Hawaii” Tugboat Launch

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Project Details

A special steel support cradle system was designed for the project

Northwest Structural Moving (NWSM) was contracted to move this newly constructed tugboat referred to as the “Hawaii” from its fabrication site to a floating dry-dock where it would be launched in the Columbia River.  The “Hawaii” measured 35 feet wide, 120 feet long, 57 feet high and weighed 650 tons.  The tugboat was moved approximately .75 miles along a paved and gravel roadway with NWSM’s remote control self-propelled transport system.  NWSM engineered and fabricated a steel support cradle system to safely transport the tugboat on its journey to the launch site.

An unusually low and challenging water level

The challenging part of this project was the unusually low water level in the Columbia River when the load-out was completed.  The river was down approximately 6 feet due to lower than normal rainfall and lack of snow melt in the Northwest.  NWSM devised a plan to make up for the height difference between the pier and the floating dry-dock by creating an elevated roadway on the dry-dock floor.  This temporary roadway consisted of 3,000 wood timbers and several thousand pounds of steel beams and ramps.  Once the tugboat was safely loaded, it was lowered 8 feet to the dry-dock floor and the temporary roadway was removed.  The new “Hawaii” was then floated in the waters of the Columbia River.


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