Boats & Barges

2017 Towboat Construction Highlights From IRR Online

Who built the most inland river towing vessels in 2017? Who did they build them for? What is the average horsepower of towboats built last year? All of these questions and more can be answered via search queries on the easy-to-use Inland River Record Online (IRR Online).

Updated monthly by The Waterways Journal staff, IRR Online provides details on nearly 4,000 boats currently in operation. The website uses a search platform developed by The Integra Group, a software solutions provider for the barge industry.

While updates from 2017, and now 2018, are still pouring into the WJ, we can tell you what we have learned about the 2017 shipbuilding season so far.
According to the updates we have received for IRR Online up to now, approximately 16 towing vessels were constructed to operate on the inland waterways in 2017. The top three builders of these vessels were John Bludworth Shipyard LLC, which built three towboats, and JamesBuilt and Eymard Marine Construction & Repair, which each built two.

With more data from 2017 still expected to be added to IRR Online, 2017 numbers are only a fourth of the 61 towing vessels constructed at inland shipyards in 2016. In 2016, Intracoastal Iron Works took the lead for most towboats built (five) for the inland waterways.

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2017 Towboat Specs

According to IRR Online, the average horsepower of the 2017 towboats is approximately 2,394 hp. The majority of the vessels fell somewhere in the range of 2,000 to 2,680 hp., with at least four of the boats maintaining 2,000 hp. Only one 2017 towboat had more than 4,000 hp. The mv. SCF Mariner, owned and operated by SCF Bunge Marine LLC in Greenville, Miss., has 6,600 hp.
The most common engine make for 2017 was Cat (8), followed by Cummins (7) and Mitsubishi (1). Of those engines, the most common reduction gear manufacturer was Twin Disc.

Towboats in 2017 ranged in length from 58.5 to 160 feet, with the average length being approximately 81 feet. Width ranged from 24 to 50 feet, with the average width being 31 feet. The largest inland vessel built in 2017 was the 160-foot SCF Mariner, a triple-screw towboat built by C&C Marine & Repair LLC, Belle Chasse, La.

In contrast, the smallest inland towboats built in 2017 were the mvs. Prairie Moon and River Spirit, both built by JamesBuilt, Calvert City, Ky., and owned and operated by American River Transportation Company, St. Louis, Mo. The 940 hp. towing vessels are 58.5 by 26 feet.

For more information on IRR Online, visit and click on the IRR Online logo. This secure site is accessible with a paid subscription. Once logged in, the user can search data by a combination of the following: boat name, length, width, owner, builder, year built, official number, number of engines, engine make and model, gear reduction and horsepower.