The Roger Stahl
The Capt. Diane
USCGC KAW - Roger Stahl
by William A. Hoey
Narrative graciously provided by William A. Hoey of Gaelic Towing - Detroit Michigan.
The USCGC KAW was decommissioned on 22 June 1978, and the Coast Guard stripped out the engine room for spare parts for its other Ingersoll Rand powered 110 foot tugs. Along with her twin sister, the General Motors powered Naugatuck, they were declared surplus and put up for bids.
The high bid for both vessels of $300,000 was made by Calumet Marine Towing Company of Chicago and the boats were sold to them on November 20, 1980. In the summer of 1983 Captain Barnaby, the owner of Calumet Marine, had the KAWís engine room emptied and towed to Peterson Builders in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. There the KAW was converted to twin screw, keel cooling installed, twin rudders and the stern squared off. For several years after that Capt Barnaby and his fleet engineer Tom Paytosh discussed and pondered over which engines to install in the KAW. Many drawings were made showing Catapillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, and EMD engines installed, but no work was done. The lighter engines appeared to be too light for the heavy tug and the heaver EMD engines did not fit with the new type gear boxes available. The two men who had repowered many tugs were discouraged as the boat sat in Chicago still an empty hull.
Both men died in the early 1990s and as Mrs Barnaby was selling off some barges to Lake Michigan Contractors, she included the KAW into the deal, apparently without cost. Joe Welsch, owner of Lake Michigan Contractors knew both Barnaby and Paytosh well, was convinced that repowering the KAW to be impossible. So on July 20, 1995 the Kaw was sold to North American Barge Line, a sister company to and later merged into Gaelic Tugboat Company of Detroit in exchange for a crane Gaelic owned. Since the KAW was built in 1943, it was grandfathered under the older loadline regulations allowing a vessel of under 150 tons to operate without a loadline.
A mesurement of the vessel was done and its first document was issued on February 26, 1996 as KAW, US# 1039686, 148 gross tons. Gaelic fleet engineers Roger Stahl and Jim Storen found that an older Falk Gear used with many EMD engines would fit into the KAW. A pair of EMD 12-567CE engines with these gear boxes all just rebuilt were available from the retired Norfolk and Southern pusher tug F. A. Johnson which was on the Detroit River. The tug was brought to Gaelicís yard on the Rouge River in Detroit and the engines, gears, coolers, intermediate shafts, and propellers were removed and installed into the KAW.
A towing winch from the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was converted to hydraulic and installed, as were two 6-71 Detroit Diesel 100kw generator sets. The project continued with the installation of new radios, radars, and GPS and gyro compass
The quarters and galley were totally rebuilt and 15 tons of fixed ballast was installed. As the rebuild project neared the end, fleet engineer Roger Stahl announced his retirement at the age of 75. So in honor of his 25 years with Gaelic Tugboat, and 27 years with Dunbar and Sullivan dredging company, the KAW was renamed ROGER STAHL.
The trial trip of the tug in December 1999 proved successful, but the propellers removed from a pusher tug needed pitched up for the model bow type tug which was done in the spring of 2000. The tug has successfully towed many dead ships and barges around the lakes from Duluth to Detroit to Quebec City to Chicago. But as the business did not continue to be in site, and with Gaelicís heavy investment in the vessel, it was decided to sell the ROGER STAHL.
In August of 2003 the tug began a new life with the Keys Harbor Services of Key West, assisting Navy ships at the Key West Navy Base as the Capt. Diane.
William A. Hoey
Photos above and below by - Franz VonRiecel, Scott Best,
Neil Schultheiss, Wade Streeter and Mike Nicholls
Additional photos of the Roger Stahl
"The Capt. Diane"
Florida Keys Harbor Service
~ And How She Got There ~
The CGC Kaw like all coasties eventually retires to the civilian sector in 1979. We are currently researching her tale for accuracy, but as of now we know that the Kaw, now named the Capt. Diane, is owned by Capt. James E. Felton Jr. and works as a harbor tug for the Florida Keys Harbor Service, in Key West Florida. Jim Felton has been nice enough to supply us with photos of the Capt. Diane in her new career. Capt. Jim Felton purchased her from Gaelic Towing out of Detroit where she went when first leaving the Coast Guard.
Capt. Diane (fna Kaw) with 250 footer in tow to Dominican Republic
Capt. Jimmy Felton reports: June 2004
6 days down and 4 days back. We had 2 1/2 days of 12 to 15 foot seas down by the
Windward Passagebut the rest of the trip was good. Stayed in the DR for 3 days, had to get more fuel for the return trip just incase we found a tow of opportunely. We arrived in the DR not long after they had landslides, so it took us some time to get the fuel delivered, but it all worked out.
Below Are more pictures of the Roger Stahl
Click to see a larger picture
List Of The Kaw's Owners Since Decommissioning
1942-1980 U.S. Coast Guard
1980-1992 Calumet Marine Towing Chicago IL
1992-1995 Lake Michigan Contractors Holland, MI
1995-2003 Gaelic Towing Detroit, MI
2003- Florida Keys Harbor Service Key West Fl