The International Steam Pages

Floating Steam Cranes

Chris Capewell is my 'crane guru', elsewhere on this site you can read about extant railway steam (and hand) cranes. Steam cranes on the water are very rare creatures, Chris has put together this list of known survivors as always we would be very happy to receive photographs we can use on the site and notifications of 'errors and omissions'. Click on any of the thumbnails for a bigger version.

Latest additions are some dredge tales (4th June 2019), a video of YD 250 (8th April 2019), the likely demise of New Zealand's Rapaki (16th October 2018) previously items indicated by 14th June 2018 (3) previously, sheerlegs at Rahmi Koç Museum, Istanbul (17th May 2016), former steam crane at Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan (added 4th May 2016), UK steam dredge Perseverance plus Newport, Kentucky crane (19th April 2016), steam cranes on barges (USA and Canada), courtesy of John Taubeneck (latest addition 22nd March 2016) and three steam dredgers form the USA (1st April 2015), three snagboats from North America courtesy of John Taubeneck (15th January 2015).

Previously there were pictures of the New Zealand cranes from Kevin Hoggett (14th December 2014) and information and pictures on the Dutch cranes, courtesy of René Beijer (17th October 2013).



Runcorn; Halton MSC Dock (originally for Manchester Ship Canal Co.)

250 Ton Floating Crane (Steam/Electric) main purpose lock gate lifting.
Built By Werf Gusto Ltd ; ( Firma A. F. Smulders) Schiedam, Netherlands. 1937.
Out of use, still owned by Manchester Ship Canal. Supposedly for sale – but apart from scrapping, what is its future?
Information and picture.
Being towed in 1994
See also Manchester Ship Canal Archives

River Medway

'SEAWAY SOLIDARITY', 115 tonne, Floating Crane Work Barge
Built at Port Deposit, Maryland, U.S.A.
Formerly steam powered, now compressed air.
Information and picture

Ellemere Port (Boat Museum)

Steam dredge 'Perseverance', Crane is Grafton & Co. #2473 3 tons at 16 feet, built 1934.
At work in 1993: 
Information - 


Leith; Edinburgh Dock, originally for Leith Harbour Commissioners

'GRAB No. 1'. Built in 1927. 22T crane by Cowans Sheldon of Carlisle
Latterly operated by compressed air; but is now out of use
Information and picture. (about three quarters down the page)


Rams Head, Ardmore

Ex Mersey Docks and Harbour Board; SAMSON, Wrecked 1987 en route to Malta
However it was Diesel Electric
Historic Pictures (1980s)

Sister Crane 'MAMMOTH' was sold to Sweden and became 'BALTIC MAMMOTH', information and pictures


Thanks to René Beijer for greatly adding to this list and providing the extra links as well (12th October 2013). This YouTube clip groups all the floating crane clips together René has now (17th October 2013) provided detailed information on these cranes together with pictures of them. He adds:

"In Netherlands we have more of these steam cranes still working but converted to compressed air operation.I just know some names of them and i have pictures but i don't have any info of them.
The sister floating crane of Ajax is the Samson and she is lying in the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam (Dutch language, English option) the museum is worth a visit when you're in Netherlands."


Originally for Simons b.v., Schiedam, Heibok 4 1916
10T derrick; not self propelled

Schiedam Harbour

Built in 1963 and owned by Mammoet maritime.
Lifting capacity is 300 tons
Website: (link dead by 26th April 2014)
Youtube: and

Werkendam Harbour

"Bergse Maas"
Built in 1936 and owned by De Klerk Waterbouw
Lifting capacity is 100 tons
Website: ((link dead by 12th April 2018)
Lifting height of the main crane is 24 meters.
Lifting height with the jib is 33.5 meters.
Length of the pontoon is 28 meters.
With of the pontoon is 13 meters.
American and hoist steam winches.
2 main winches of 50 tons each and a runner winch of 2,5 tons on the main crane. 
2 main winches of 25 tons each and a runner winch of 2,5 tons on the Jib.
2 anchor winches
1 winch for the spread of the crane
1 furnace scotch marine boiler working pressure 13 bar gasoil fired

Druten Harbour

Owned by FBT Bergingsbedrijf
Lifting capacity is 130 tons
Website: (website gone by 26th April 2014). Built in 1963 by shipyard Fa. Kraayeveld in Sliedrecht.
Lifting height of the main crane is 27,5 meters.
Lifting height with the Jib is 39,5 meters.
length of the pontoon is 30 meters
width of the pontoon is 8 meters.
American and hoist steam winches built in 1927 
2 main winches of 65 tons each and 1 runner winch of 5 tons on the main crane
2 main winches of 35 tons each and 1 runner winch of 5 tons on the Jib
1 winch for changing the spread of the crane
2 anchor winches.
1 furnace scotch marine boiler working pressure is 15 bar gasoil fired

Wessem Harbour

Owned by Van Bekkum Duik en Berging
Lifting capacity ??
Website: (link dead by 25th October 2016)


Rostock Maritime Museum - Schiffbau- und Schifffahrtsmuseum
LANGER HEINRICH - 100-ton steam floating crane recently restored (but not working - needs a new boiler)
Bechem & Keetmann, Duisburg; 1905
originally for Schichau - Shipyard in Danzig, later in 1945 to Neptune Shipyard, Rostock; decommissioned 1978
Andreas Hallier wrote an excellent account of its history (German text) titled Langer Heinrich, July 2012.,_1905)
This picture comes from Wikimedia ("Jonas Rogowski"):


New Zealand

Wellington Harbour (originally for Wellington Harbour Board)



HIKITIA Fleming & Ferguson Ltd Paisley, Scotland 1926 (yard number 486)
Crane by Sir Wm. Arrol, floating base by Fleming and Ferguson
These 2011 pictures come from Kevin Hoggett.
John Ackrill, the chief engineer adds: "She is berthed at the Taranaki St wharf in Wellington, and is currently owned and operated by the Maritime Heritage Trust of Wellington. She is still in service (steam powered) though, currently, not self-propelled; we hope to get her steaming under her own power before too long."

Auckland Harbour, Taranaki Wharf (originally for Lyttleton Harbour Board)


RAPAKI Fleming & Ferguson Ltd , Paisley, Scotland 1926 (yard number 485)
80T Crane by Sir Wm. Arrol, floating base by Fleming and Ferguson
This 2011 picture comes from Kevin Hoggett.
John Ackrill adds "she was towed to Auckland in (I think) 1993 and is now a museum piece at the National Maritime Museum.
Latest bad news via Chris Hodrien (16th October 2018) is that the owners of the Wharf need to extend it for the America's Cup in 2021 and Rapaki cannot stay where it is. It is not structurally sound and the necessary repairs would be prohibitively expensive, so most likely it will be scrapped and a home found for the plant and machinery which is said to be in good condition.



Shinkomachi, Omuta Miike Harbour


Secondhand in 1905; originally for Osaka
DAI KONGO MARU 蒸気式クレーン船大金剛丸
15 ton capacity crane by John H Wilson, Liverpool ca 1899.
Not self propelled; coal fired.
Searching on the katakana name brings forward a host of websites. (link broken 5th April 2019) These are Brian Newman's pictures:


Rahmi Koç Museum, Istanbul (added 17th May 2016)

'Floating Sheerlegs' - "This spectacular 32 metre high construction is the sheerlegs that was fitted to the crane barge TCG Turgut Alp, built in 1887 by AG Weser of Bremen, Germany and used by the Turkish Navy. Powered by steam, the lifting capacity was 85 tonnes."
These are Thomas Kautzor's pictures:



Atlin, British Columbia

The remains of a dredge are shown in pictures near the end of this page - (John A. Taubeneck, 14th June 2018)

New Westminster, British Columbia

Sampson V was the last in a line of steam snagboats of the same name. history subpage.htm (link dead 25th October 2016)

See (John A. Taubeneck, 14th June 2018)

Esquimalt, British Columbia

There is an active steam crane, YD 250, on a barge belonging to the Canadian Armed Forces, and (taken in 2008). It was dry docked and serviced at Victoria, BC in 2012. See:

John Taubeneck reports that YD 250 is alive and well (21st January 2018), see a video A set of 2017 pictures is here - and an open day picture here - A further video is here - (all these 8th April 2019).

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sister YD 253 was stored out of service at Halifax in March 2014. See: By 29th November, 2016, YD 253 was still kicking around the dockyard in Halifax, although its crane has not been rigged for years. John Taubeneck suspects that its fire tower is still considered an asset of the dockyard fire department. Now that there is no dedicated fire tug, the crane tower could be used for high level firefighting.

Sister YD 251 was converted to barge Beaver Kay after 1995.

Sister YD 252 was converted to barge YOM 252 by 2008 (much of this updated 21st January 2018).

USA - in alphabetical STATE order

Pickensville, Alabama

The steam snagboat Montgomery is on display.

Benicia, California

An abandoned steam barge crane was here in 2013,, it was still visible on Google Earth in 2015.

Dubuque, Iowa

Steam suction dredger 

Newport, Kentucky.

US Army corps of Engineers dredge William S.Mitchell is preserved here. She was built in 1934 and retired in 1986. 
See, she is doing duty as a haunted house attraction (link broken by 25th October 2016).

Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan (added 4th May 2016)

This is a former steam crane (4th May 2016) -, A contemporary picture is here - Thanks to John Taubeneck for this one. 

Brownville, Nebraska

Steam suction dredger

Lyons, New York (Added 1st April 2015)

Bucyrus steam dredger
See (link dead by 12th April 2018, since revived, 14th June 2018)

Newark Bay, Staten Island NYC

American Hoist and Derrick
Abandoned hulk – scrapped June 2012

Hannibal, Ohio (added 22nd March 2016)

US Army Corps of Engineers Maneuverboat 35 is on display here, 

Anacortes, Washington

W. T. Preston is a specialized sternwheeler that operated as a snagboat, removing log jams and natural debris that prevented river navigation on several Puget Sound-area rivers. She is now the centerpiece of the Snagboat Heritage Center in Anacortes, Washington.

Foss Dockyard,. Washington State

Foss 300 Derrick, 75 ton crane, built in 1943 at Stockton California for the US Army and kept in working order.
Picture - Internal Picture
(added 14th September 2019)

Puget Sound, Washington

Manson #24; Clyde 1940; 400T.
Repowered as diesel electric ca. 2006.

There is, or was a 150-ton steam floating crane abandoned in seemingly complete condition up a creek on the west coast of the USA (Washington I think) but Chris cannot find the location.


There was (is?) an active steam crane on a barge on Columbia River at Lady Island in 2007,

Bits and pieces (4th June 2019)

If that's not enough then check out these 'dredge pages' courtesy of John Tauberneck:

Rob Dickinson