Services And Partners

Catherwood Towing Services


Catherwood Towing Ltd. offers the following services to the entire coast of BC and Vancouver Island:

  • Booming
  • Log Boom Towing
  • Boom Storage
  • Marine Construction Equipment Towing & Tending
  • Tug & Barge Services for general freight
  • Custom Tug & Towing Services as desired

Catherwood Towing - Logs

With the start of the new millennium, we began to see a decline of the forest industry. We took this as an occasion to research new opportunities and we were able to expand our business in the following ways.

  • Fraser River Pile and Dredge (GP) Inc. In October of 2003, Fraser River Pile and Dredge’s (FRPD) marine towing contractor ceased operations and we met with them to propose that we become their primary supplier of towing services.  We now provide much of FRPD’s marine towing and tending at their yard in New Westminster and at job sites on the Fraser River, Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia.
  • Coastland Wood Industries Ltd. – In 2004 we submitted a successful proposal to Coastland Wood Industries to tow their barge between New Westminster and Duke Point near Nanaimo laden with veneer from their Nanaimo plant as well as some minor freight 2 to 3 times per week.
  • City Transfer In 2012, we submitted a successful proposal to City Transfer for towing two freight barges between the Fraser River, Powell River and Sechelt depots. As neither Powell River nor Sechelt are accessible by highway, all freight to and from must travel by barge or BC Ferries. City Transfer operates a fleet of over 100 trucks and trailers servicing contracts to virtually all businesses in these areas along with delivery services that are more time sensitive and cost effective than available by BC Ferry Corporation. One full time tug is dedicated to this contract.
  • JJM Construction Ltd. In 2012 we expanded our services to JJM Construction, a customer since 2001, to include delivering aggregate barges.

In addition to the above examples, we operate a considerable support network to enhance towing operations and customer services.

  1. We have a commercial fuel dock on the Fraser River in Mission, which currently supplies about 3 to 4 million liters of diesel, per year, to our own vessels, other tug operator’s and pleasure crafts.
  2. We operate a repair depot which carries out day to day vessel maintenance; major repairs to vessels and an on-site supply warehouse.
  3. We have more than 30 boom storage grounds along the Fraser River, Harrison River and Harrison Lake to provide maximum efficiency and security for boom towing operations.  These grounds comprise over 75,000 feet in total length and are capable of storing in excess of 2,500 sections (at 66 feet) of log booms which represents up to 600,000 cubic meters of logs.
    • The use of steel pipes for dolphins (instead of wood sticks) provides much longer-term installations, hence less riverbed disturbance due to pulling rotten pilings and a greater margin of safety through more predictable strength. This means we have less storage grounds security problems and the resulting debris/hazards from damaged booms.

Sea Imp IX

Much has changed in our company throughout the past 40 plus years, but the commitment to our basic philosophy has remained unchanged.  This includes safe, efficient and personalized services to our customers. We value crew safety and the careful protection of the environment in which we all work, live and raise our families. As a result, with the help of our crews, we have been instrumental in pioneering a number of safety and efficiency concepts in the marine industry.

  1. The use of Wagner Autopilots for boom towing in the river to minimize power loss from over-steering in the current (particularly in freshet time), to improve towing speed, fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
  2. A cofferdam assembly under the engine and gear to collect any leaked fuel and lubricants so that they can be removed from the vessel for disposal rather than being pumped overboard with the bilge water.
  3. The use of diapers to collect fuel and lubricant drippings in the bilge of vessels that were built before the cofferdam concept.  This also has the effect of highlighting leaks in the power train and encourages timely repair.
  4. In 2009 we were invited by Transport Canada to participate in a ‘Pilot Program’ to develop and operate a ‘Domestic Safety Management’ program.  This initiative has produced a more structured and effective crew safety, work practices and vessel maintenance environment, with ongoing provision to audit all aspects of the program.