Marine Photography by Preston Cook

Preston Cook is a Mechanical Engineer who has worked in the diesel engine and equipment business for nearly forty years. He has handled fleet technical support for railroad, marine, and industrial equipment. His photography is a hobby, not a profession. He also photographs scenery, industrial scenes, and cityscapes, and railroads in daytime and at night. Unfortunately, homeland security concerns make access for close-up marine photography very difficult now for anyone not employed directly by the tug company.

The photographs on this page have been published in print books and magazine articles and are all copyrighted by the photographer.


The morning sunrise has just begun to color the sky at the Chessie System Marine Department pier in Newport News, Virginia in November 1984. One of the railroad's elderly diesel tugs built by RTC shipbuilding at Camden, New Jersey in the 1950s awaits the days work moored along side a retired railroad carfloat.

The Chessie System tug M. I. DUNN powers west across Hampton Roads at sunset running alongside the newly delivered tug CHESSIE. The M. I. DUNN would be retired following the delivery of CHESSIE's sister tug SEABOARD a few months later, and the CHESSIE and SEABOARD were subsequently sold to McAllister Brothers Towing when CSX disbanded their marine operations.

In this flashbulb assisted night time-exposure photo the Chessie System Railroad tugboat J. SPEED GRAY sits alongside the retired railroad carfloat that served as a landing float at the Marine Department Offices in Newport News, Virginia.

This is a flashbulb assisted open-shutter night time exposure of the J. SPEED GRAY along side the carfloat in Newport News. This kind of photograph is very difficult to do with a tugboat, since the vessel moves around during the time exposure. It requires opening the camera shutters and then setting off the flash just as the tug reaches the highest point of its motion on the swells. Jim Boyd worked with Preston Cook on the photo setup and lighting of these two night shots..

MORANIA #24 transits the Cape Cod Canal westbound in this photograph from November 1980. The canal remains one of the best locations in New England to view tugs and barges at work. There are many areas that provide excellent scenes along the Cape Cod side of the waterway.

The tug PLEON sits in drydock at the Boston Fuel Transportation docks in East Boston, Massachusetts in November 1990. The vessel is the former Erie Railroad tug MARION, designed by noted Naval Architect Joe Hack.

All hands are busy at work making fender repairs on the NY Cross Harbor tugboat CROSS HARBOR I. during a brief lull in the routine of towing railroad carfloats back and forth between Greenville, New Jersey and Brooklyn, NY in 1984.

The IOT tug VOYAGER II provides a full reflection in the calm water as it transits the Capt Cod Canal eastbound in January 1979. IOT later became Sonat Marine and Maritrans.

US Navy tug DEKANISORA (YTB 252) pulls alongside a NEWPORT (1179) Class LST off the coast of Virginia in March 1984. The elderly 1942 built tug was sold to to the Greek Navy in 1986 and is still operating with the name PELOPS..

The Chessie System Railroad tugboat M. I. DUNN maneuvers into the pier at Newport News in the gathering dusk in early 1984. At this point, with her replacements arriving, the question posed by her name could be answered "Yes".



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