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?
Being towed in 1994 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE3dTo0cqdU
See also Manchester Ship Canal Archives
'SEAWAY SOLIDARITY', 115 tonne, Floating Crane Work Barge
Built at Port Deposit, Maryland, U.S.A.
Formerly steam powered, now compressed air.
Ellemere Port (Boat Museum)
Steam dredge 'Perseverance', Crane is Grafton & Co. #2473 3 tons at 16 feet, built 1934.
At work in 1993:
Information - http://www.steamboat.org.uk/user.php?id=61567
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
(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
Sister Crane 'MAMMOTH' was sold to Sweden and became 'BALTIC MAMMOTH', information
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdPy1ItpTIY.
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 https://www.maritiemmuseum.nl (Dutch
language, English option) the museum is worth a visit when you're in
Built in 1936 and owned by De Klerk Waterbouw
Lifting capacity is 100 tons
((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
Owned by FBT Bergingsbedrijf
Lifting capacity is 130 tons
Website: http://www.fbtdruten.nl/gazelle%20website..htm (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
Owned by Van Bekkum Duik en Berging
Lifting capacity ??
(link dead by 25th October 2016)
Rostock Maritime Museum - Schiffbau- und Schifffahrtsmuseum
Wellington Harbour (originally for Wellington Harbour Board)
Auckland Harbour, Taranaki Wharf (originally for Lyttleton Harbour Board)
RAPAKI Fleming & Ferguson Ltd , Paisley, Scotland 1926 (yard
80T Crane by Sir Wm. Arrol,
floating base by Fleming
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.
http://www.geocities.jp/tttban2000/Room/sight/isan/kongoo.html (link broken 5th April
These are Brian Newman's pictures:
Rahmi Koç Museum, Istanbul (added 17th
'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 - https://www.ourhomehas6wheels.com/atlin-bc-the-switzerland-of-the-north/
(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.
http://www.nwheritage.org/heritagesite/orgs/samson/Samson history subpage.htm
(link dead 25th October 2016)
(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, http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=97405
(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 http://www.lookoutnewspaper.com/full-steam-ahead-retirement-site-oldest-crane-barge/.and
a video https://www.trainmuseum.org/index.php/research/large-objects.
A set of 2017 pictures is here - https://vibrantvictoria.ca/forum/index.php?/topic/3650-marine-point-hope-shipyard/page-16
and an open day picture here - http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2870176.
A further video is here - https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1106813
(all these 8th April 2019).
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sister YD 253 was stored out of service at Halifax in March 2014. See: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html.
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
The steam snagboat Montgomery is on display.
An abandoned steam barge crane was here in 2013, http://beniciaheraldonline.com/is-cove-crane-tipping-into-the-carquinez/,
it was still visible on Google Earth in 2015.
Steam suction dredger
US Army corps of Engineers dredge William S.Mitchell is preserved
here. She was built in 1934 and retired in 1986.
she is doing duty as a haunted house attraction (link broken by 25th
Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan (added 4th
This is a former steam crane (4th May 2016) - http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2014/12/lookback_strongman_of_the_grea.html,
A contemporary picture is here - http://dlund.20m.com/slide_shows/Soo_Tower_of_History/Tow23a.JPG.
Thanks to John Taubeneck for this one.
Steam suction dredger
Lyons, New York (Added 1st April 2015)
Bucyrus steam dredger
(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
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
(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, http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=349251.
Bits and pieces (4th
If that's not enough then check out these 'dredge
pages' courtesy of John Tauberneck: