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Niagara Steamship -  Once One Of The Toughest Tugboats

Niagara Steamship was once one of the toughest tugboats on the Great Lakes. Lather, it was blowing steam for tourists in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Over 100-year-old S.S. Pumper was the strong, silent star of 'Niagara Steamship', and one of the town's popular attractions. Docked at Navy Hall during the summer, the boat was North America's only wood-fired steam vessel, providing visitors with a different way to see the town.

Niagara Steamship S. S. Pumper

Built in Buffalo in 1903, when sail boats, the rugged sip was originally called the S.S. Planet. Just six years after it hit the water, the boat was seized by the Canadian Coast guard for illegally smuggling booze during prohibition. It was docked in Port Dover, where it was eventually sold and renamed 'Racey' because of its speed and power. Four years later, it was sold again and its thick steel hull was used to break ice for fishing fleets.

'Racey' also tested some revange. It towed the S.S. Vigilant - the Coast Guard boat that captured her years earlier - to the scrapyard.

With bigger and faster boats crowding the Niagara River, 'Racey' was drydocked in 1941 and was left to rot. Nearly 50 years lather, she was taken out of mothballs by Ottawa businessman Doug Pettit, and refitted to classic standards. An original  1895 Doty Steam Engine and a 1941 Scotch marine boiler was placed in the hull, and in 1989 it hit the waters near Port Dover for passanger tours. Few years lather, Pettit grabbed his chance to operate in Niagara -on-the-Lake. Renamed the S.S. Pumper, the boat was licensed to carry 100 people. This powerful boat was no longer the fastest boat on the Niagara River, but it had plenty of muscle. And besides the crackling of wood in the engine, this beautiful boat was barely making a sound, it was completely silent.

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