Tug jobs in Milwaukee/Chicago area

Soon-to-be Maritime Academy graduate here. I have been wanting to work harbor tugs ever since I applied to my maritime academy. However, personal matters arose and I need to live in Milwaukee for a few years. I’m having trouble finding any information on harbor tugs in Milwaukee or Chicago. Does anyone know any companies there that run harbor assist?

Andrie works all around there.

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Great Lakes Towing is the primary ship assist outfit in Chicago and the ports along southern lake Michigan and Calumet River Fleeting does the majority of barge shifting work in the Chicago area.


One sort of different, perhaps asymmetrical, way to come at this problem is to just start scouring MarineTraffic and see what pops up. Next time you find yourself surfing social media on your phone surf the MarineTraffic app instead. You’ll get a better sense of who/what is working where and that will tell you what companies to apply for.

If you find a boat in a particular harbor that fits the bill of what you’re looking for, grab the MMSI number off of MarineTraffic, plug it into Tugboatinformation.com to find out who owns it, go on that company’s website and start firing of resumés and cover letters, making phone calls, knocking on doors, or fill out the company’s online application.


A quick perusal of this method has revealed the interesting little tug James J. Versluis. The Wikipedia article indicates that it’s owned and operated by the Chicago Water Department. I’m guessing that means that you probably have to be related to someone to get a job on there and that openings only occur once every half century, but if you don’t ask you don’t get!

So there you go, five minutes on MarineTraffic and Wikipedia and you’ve already got a potentially viable option to research. Start making phone calls and don’t stop till you get a crystal clear yes or no!

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I haven’t interacted with him a ton but in what little dealings I’ve had with him, I’ve always thought of their crewing manager, Erik Hansen, as a decent chap. @50minutevectors should definitely give them a call.

I’ve never thought about doing this. Thanks for the great idea!

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MM&P United Inland, too.

Interesting, what do they cover?

They have the contract on the Versluis …which does the maintenance on the Chicago water intakes.

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