Betty Culbreath

Betty Culbreath – Michaela McAllister – Prentiss Brown


Articulated Tugboat, Bludworth Coupler; Paired with Barge St. Marys Challenger

Prentiss Brown, at Green Bay, WI, 6/7/2020. Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1967

Builder: Gulfport Shipbuilding Corp., Port Arthur, TX

Hull #693

Registry: US 511297

IMO #7035547

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: 1967

Commissioned: August 1, 1967

Paired Barges:


Prentiss Brown was constructed in 1967 as the tugboat Betty Culbreath by Gulfport Shipbuilding of Port Arthur, TX. She was originally constructed for Gulfcoast Transit Co., a subsidiary of the Tampa Electric Co. Betty Culbreath was delivered to her owners in early August 1967, being paired with the barge Pearle Jahn in early fall. The pair began their typical trade of hauling coal from Gulf ports for delivery to power plants in the Tampa region.


  • Bludworth ATB coupler installed, Bay Shipbuilding Corp., Sturgeon Bay, WI, 2009.

General Stats

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 613′

Length Overall [Tug]: 123’05”

Breadth: 31’06”

Depth: 19′

Draft: 13’08”

Vessel Type: Articulated Tugboat

Propellers: 2

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: General Motors Electro Motive Division, Chicago, IL

Engine Model: 12-645-E2

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 3900 BHP


Name/Ownership History

Betty Culbreath – 1967-2003

Owner: Gulfcoast Transit Co., Tampa, FL [Tampa Electric]

Operator: Gulfcoast Transit

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Michaela McAllister – 2003-2008

Owner: McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., New York, NY

Operator: McAllister Towing and Transportation

Flag: United States

Home Port: New York, NY

Prentiss Brown – 2008-Present

Owner: Port City Tug, Inc., Muskegon, MI [Sand Products Corp.]

Operator: Port City Marine Services, Muskegon, MI [Sand Products Corp.]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Muskegon, MI

Her Story

Prentiss Brown was originally constructed in 1967 by Gulfport Shipbuilding Corp. of Port Arthur, Texas, as their Hull #693. She was built for Gulfcoast Transit, a subsidiary of Tampa Electric Co., and named Betty Culbreath. Gulfcoast took delivery of the tug in August 1967. Betty Culbreath was paired with the bulk carrier barge Pearle Jahn in the fall of 1967, and the pair entered service hauling coal from Gulf ports for delivery to Tampa Electric power plants at Tampa, Florida.

In 2003, Betty Culbreath was sold to McAllister Towing & Transportation of New York City. McAllister renamed her Michaela McAllister, and she entered service for them as a harbor assistance tug based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Michaela McAllister was purchased by Port City Marine Services, a subsidiary of Sand Products Corporation, in mid-2008. She was sailed onto the Great Lakes in July 2008, and proceeded to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for a refit. She was drydocked in early 2009, and underwent refurbishments to her interior and engines, and was repainted in Port City colors. A Bludworth ATB coupler was installed, allowing her to pair with a barge. She was renamed Prentiss Brown, and departed the shipyard on February 8, 2009, for Milwaukee, WI, to mate up with the barge St. Marys Conquest. Port City Marine Services was contracted to manage and operate St. Marys Conquest. The pair departed Milwaukee on their maiden voyage together on March 8, 2009, bound for Charlevoix, MI, to load.

In 2015, Prentiss Brown swapped places with her fleetmate Bradshaw McKee as the primary push tug for the barge St. Marys Challenger. Prentiss switched between pushing the barges St. Marys Challenger and St. Marys Conquest for a portion of the 2019 and 2020 seasons while Port City awaited the arrival of their third tug. Prentiss Brown remains in service today, pushing the barge St. Marys Challenger.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on February 17, 2021


Pennock, Isaac. “Prentiss Brown”. Great Lakes Tugs & Workboats, N.d. Accessed 4 January 2021.

“Prentiss Brown”. Tugboat Information, N.d. Accessed 4 January 2021.