Nichols Boat Company of Greenville, Miss., recently completed its 26th towboat. The 3,400-hp. twin-screw towboat has a retractable pilothouse. (Photo courtesy of Nichols Boat Company)

Nichols Boat Completes 26th Towboat, Built On Speculation

Nichols Boat Company, a boat and barge builder in Greenville, Miss., recently completed a 3,400 hp. twin-screw towboat with Tier 4 engines, built on speculation.

“Due to COVID, we decided to build a spec boat and keep valued staff busy and paid,” said Joe Nichols, president.

Nichols Boat Company is an offshoot of Nichols Propeller Company, which has been active in marine repair for more than 30 years.  Nichols Boat fabricates parts for its towboats at two remote sites and then does assembly, hull erection and final outfitting at Mississippi Marine’s facilities on Harbor Front Road in Greenville.

Nichols Boat has a long history of building quality towboats for customers that include Magnolia Marine and Jantran.

This is the 26th boat built at the shipyard in Greenville, Miss. It is a heavy build and designed to result in minimal vibration.


The 120- by 34- by 11-foot boat was designed by Farrell & Norton Naval Architects. It has a retractable pilothouse. 

The towboat builds 3,400 hp. from two 1,700 hp. Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 engines from Fabick Power Systems Inc., turning 88- by 65.7-inch Sound propellers in the stainless steel Dominator style from Missouri Dry Dock & Repair through Reintjes WAF 773V gears from Karl Senner LLC at a 6.154:1 ratio. The hydraulic steering system is custom from Custom Hydraulic Components Inc.

The Subchapter M compliant boat has an 8-foot, 6-inch design draft and 31-foot eye level from the water line. The air draft is 34 feet, 4 inches with the pilothouse up and 17 feet, 2 inches with it retracted. 

Two John Deere 125 kw. generators from Engines Inc. provide power. Keel coolers are by Fernstrum. 

Two Quincy QR 325 air compressors from Paducah Rigging provide ship supply air, with one Quincy QR 340 for DEF supply air.

The boat has the capacity for 59,100 gallons of fuel, 900 gallons of engine oil and 900 gallons of gear oil. It will hold up to 14,680 gallons of potable water and 24,550 gallons of wash water/ballast water. It also has a 12-man Crapzapper sewage system.

Fendering is by Schuyler Maritime.

On deck are two 65-ton Wintech deck winches.

Electronics are by Wheelhouse Electronics Inc. Exterior doors are from Dale’s Welding & Fabricators LLC. Insulation is from Marine & Industrial Insulation Inc. Wartsila shaft seals are by Dale’s Welding & Fabricators.The boat has a fully operational galley with all appliances installed. It will have a certificate of inspection with an 835 for FCC license and non-tank vessel response plan (NTVRP), which must be obtained before the vessel may be operated in commercial service.