New York’s South Street Seaport Museum has received a $200,000 Maritime Heritage Grant from the US National Park Service and a $200,000 challenge grant from George A. Matteson, author of the book ‘Tugboats of New York’, to help restore the 87-year-old tugboat W.O. Decker, one of the museum’s several display vessels.
Built in 1930 by Newtown Creek Towing Company as the Russell I, the tug is considered the last surviving New York-built wooden steam tug, although it has been refitted with a diesel engine.
The boat gained its current name in 1946 when it was sold to the Staten Island tugboat company. Forty years later it was donated to the Seaport Museum and is now listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.