Skip to content
The tugboat LunaThe tugboat Luna

Tugboats Luna and Venus Collection

Archives for two wooden diesel-electric tugboats built in 1930 and employed primarily in Boston Harbor for more than three decades

The sisterships Luna and Venus were wooden harbor tugboats that were pioneers in being driven by diesel-electric propulsion systems that could be directly controlled from the bridge. The tugs served primarily in Boston Harbor from 1930 into the 1960s. With their diesel-electric motors, they also could supply electrical power to waterfront companies and towns for short periods. As the flagship of the Boston tugboat fleet, Luna often was given special assignments such as docking ocean liners in New York, including the Normandie and the Queen Mary on their maiden voyages to the U.S. The Venus was scrapped in the early 1990s. The Luna, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, is owned by the Luna Preservation Society. She received major restorations in 2000-1 and 2007-8, and was tied up at a Chelsea, Massachusetts shipyard as of 2023.

Most of the archive consists of plans, equipment specifications, parts lists, wiring diagrams and other construction-related documents from around 1930, when the tugs were built. Dating from the 1920s to 1980, the archive also includes overhaul notes and correspondence, radio communication logs, a 1980 proposal to restore the Luna, and related material.

Title: Tugboats Luna and Venus Collection

Creators: Mystic Steamship Company, Boston Towboat Co., Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

Dates: 1930-1980

Extent: One box of archives

Language: English

Repository: MIT Museum, Hart Nautical Collections

Access: Open for research by appointment. Index available. Access may be restricted due to fragile condition.

Copyright: No known restrictions

Credit: Hart Nautical Collection, MIT Museum