Tug Life

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Tugboats — those mainstays of port life — get an up-close-and-personal treatment in this photo essay by Justin Taylor. 

1. Alongside

The pilot boat Savannah pauses alongside a ship so that the river pilot may board the vessel and help navigate it through the shipping channel.


2.  Seafaring strangers 

Crew members of the MSC Charleston look down as the ship gets underway.

3. Channeling Good Vibes

The tugboat Georgia assists in undocking the container ship MSC Charleston. The tug will position itself between the ship and the dock and push the ship out into the channel.

4. Ships in the Night

The pilot boat Georgia comes alongside a container ship off the coast of Tybee Island at night.


I’ve been working on tugboats in the Savannah River for over 11 years now, usually for seven days on the boat at a time. Ships from around the world come in at all hours, day or night, and in all types of weather. This makes for some really long hours, but also for some amazing photo opportunities. 

– Justin Taylor


5. Foggy Day in Savannahtown

Moran tugs on a foggy morning.


6. Line Grab

Line handlers secure the mooring lines of an LNG vessel at Elba Island while the ZIM Pusan passes in the background.

7. On the Way Up

A crew member of a large container ship secures the pilot boarding ladder.

8. River Queen

The ferry Susie King Taylor crosses the Savannah River in thick morning fog.