Posted by: towmasters | November 20, 2009

Towboating: Do Not Try This At Home!

Blue skies, the sun shining down, birds singin’, just another lazy afternoon on the banks of the Tombigbee River. Or maybe not, as the towboat Cahaba squares off with the Rooster Bridge about 12 miles below Demopolis, AL. with the river flooding hard (note bystander rockin’ the OG Bear Bryant hat).


Ruh Roh, Raggy!!!!! (note that the bystanders have bailed)




I’ll be damned, up periscope!!! Boys, it’s time to change the tighty-whities!


Go here to view the entire sequence of historic photos shot in 1979, along with the compelling, gut-wrenching (yet heartwarming) story of forbidden love between towboat and bridge. They illustrate why the Western Rivers deserve mucho respecto as an operating environment. It’s also why it takes a legal minimum of 90 days of training and observation on that route to get the WR endorsement on a towing license, compared to just 30 days on all of the others. Of course, there should have been another zero added on to the end of those numbers. But, what the hell, experience is overrated, right?


  1. The man behind the sticks used to smoke, after he retired another person met him at a local shop for coffee, after that day in the photos he never had a steady hand & the ashes on his smoke were always everywhere but the ashtray I was told. I was told he pasted away about 4 years ago, & now the boat has been renamed the Capt. Ed Harris that is being operated by Madison Coal Supply in W.V.

  2. This is great, thanks, I can’t tell you how long I have been searching the internet for this. At last, a photo of a guy in a Bear Bryant hat, and standing on a bridge no less.

  3. That boat would make a hell of a good fishing bobber. Popped right back up. Lucky bastards.

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