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Idago Rancher Farms Wth Tugboat

James White, Clark Fork, Idaho, may be the only rancher around who uses a tugboat to do chores on his ranch.
White built a 25 ft., 9 in. long tugboat, nicknamed "Jezabelle", four years ago. His ranch is along the Clark Fork river just above Lake Pend Oreille. Some of his land, as well as a couple of islands where the river meets a lake, are accessible only by water.
"It doesn't go very fast, it's smelly, and it makes a lot of noise, but it's a fun boat and very practical," says White, who parks his tugboat in the river behind his house. "I use it to push or pull barges or rafts. Top speed is 10 1/2 mph, but I usually cruise along at about 6 mph. I built a 45-ft. long, 30-ft_ wide raft with a capacity of 25,000 lbs. that's big enough to support my New Holland automatic bale wagon loaded with hay. It's also big enough to support my Caterpillar tractor quipped with a backhoe. I occasionally use a rented barge to haul logs off one of the islands.
"The tugboat's hydraulic system can be used to power a 12,000-lb. winch on back. I can use the winch to pull a barge, but pushing a raft or barge is usually faster and offers more maneuverability than pulling it. I can also use the winch to pull objects off the shore.
"The tugboat is powered by a Caterpillar P3208 150 hp diesel engine that averages 1.7 gal./hour (up to 6 gal. per hour on hard pulls). It has a 200-gal. fuel tank. I spent $55,000 to build it which is reasonable when you consider that it has as much power as a D2 or D3 Caterpillar tractor without using the winch, and a D4 Caterpillar with the winch. I spent $15,800 for the engine, $1,000 to mount it, and $2,000 for the propeller."
The tugboat draws only 39 in. of water and has a 28 by 22-in. screw propeller that's enclosed by a cage, allowing White to go over gravel bars or other obstacles without damaging the propeller. "If I get stuck, I simply idle the engine and use the propeller to blow a hole in the sand until I can back up into deeper water," notes White.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup,James E. White, Box 158,Clark'Fork, Idaho 83811 (ph 208 266-1123).


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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #5