WATERFORD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A parade of tugboats will set sail up the Hudson River to Waterford Harbor Friday afternoon, September 9, kicking off the 2022 Waterford Tugboat Roundup. The event began in 1999 and has been held annually since, except in 2011 and 2020. Friday’s kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Tugboat Roundup is a three-day festival and gathering of tugboats, workboats, and barges to celebrate the maritime heritage on the Northeast Inland Waterways. Capital Region boat lovers are invited to learn about the vessels and get a little piece of history.

Organizers say the festival will feature vendors, boat rides, and live music. The biggest attraction, though, could be the Tug of the Year—this year’s recipient being the “J. Arnold Witte.”

The award winner is a newly-built tug by Donjon Marine. Built in 2020, the 78-by-26-foot, 2,400-horsepower tugboat was designed by Boksa Marine Design (BMD).

The triple-screw boat’s dimensions, telescoping wheelhouse, and nine-foot-draft are all reflective of what BMD and Donjon Marine see as continuing—and renewing—opportunities to move cargo through the nearly two-centuries-old, 524-mile New York State Canal System and connected waterways such as the Hudson River, New York Harbor, and the Great Lakes.

“The J. Arnold Witte is the perfect boat to celebrate in 2022, as we near the bicentennial of the Erie Canal,” Waterford Town Supervisor Jack Lawler said. “Her design and construction by a major firm like Donjon Marine are illustrative of the fact that the Canal is not just about our past, but also about our future.”

Thu Tugboat Roundup is free to attend. A full schedule of events, which last throughout the weekend of Sept. 9, is available online.