City Light Christens ‘Thunder’ Tug at Skagit

Seattle City Light put its new push tug boat into service today at the Skagit Hydroelectric Project in the North Cascades.

Seattle City Light put its new push tug boat into service today at the Skagit Hydroelectric Project in the North Cascades.

M/V Thunder at the Diablo Lake dock.

“The only way to get supplies and equipment to Ross Dam is across water and many of those essential deliveries require a barge and a dependable tug boat,” Sr. Capital Projects Coordinator Wanda Schulze said. “This new boat is an important addition for our operations.”

Kvichak Marine Industries of Seattle delivered the custom-built tug Monday in two pieces, assembled it and lowered it into Diablo Lake with a crane. City Light employees christened the boat the M/V Thunder and took it on a shakedown cruise today.

M/V Thunder is reassembled after delivery to Diablo Lake.

The M/V Thunder replaces two historic tug boats that have served the Skagit Hydroelectric Project since 1948, the Skagit and Diablo II.

Seattle City Light Skagit Hydroelectric Project employees christen the M/V Thunder.

M/V Thunder is about 25 feet long and 14 feet wide. It has dual 300 horsepower John Deere diesel engines.  A raised pilot house allows the boat captains to see over loaded barges, which will increase safety for kayakers and other recreational boaters on the narrow portions of Diablo Lake. 

Skagit employees named the boat M/V Thunder in reference to Thunder Creek, which flows into Diablo Lake, and Thunder Arm, an area of Diablo Lake. The tug is expected to serve the Skagit for 40 to 50 years.