David P. Guidry

David P. Guidry – Thunder – Sharon DeHart – Coastal 303 – Southern Dawn – Caroline McKee


Articulated Tugboat, Bludworth Coupler; Paired with Barge Commander

Caroline McKee, on the Detroit River on her delivery trip, 7/19/2020. Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1972

Builder: Main Iron Works, Houma, Louisiana

Hull #273

Registry: US 545118

IMO #7303853

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: 1972

Commissioned: 1973

Paired Barges:


The Caroline McKee was built in 1972 by Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana, as the ocean tugboat David P. Guidry. She was originally constructed American Offshore of Galliano, Louisiana.


  • Elevated pilothouse and Bludworth ATB coupling system installed, 1990.
  • Refit and repaired for Great Lakes service, Bollinger Algiers Shipyard, New Orleans, LA, 2019.

General Stats

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 567′

Length Overall [Tug]: 122’02”

Breadth: 34’06”

Depth: 12’07”

Vessel Type: Articulated Tugboat

Propellers: 2

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engines

Engine Manufacturer: Alco (American Locomotive Co.), Schenectady, NY

Engine Model: 16-251E

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 5120 BHP



David P. Guidry – 1972-1981

Owner: American Offshore Fleet, Co., Inc., Galliano, LA

Operator: American Offshore Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: —

Thunder – 1981-1990

Owner: Unknown

Operator: Unknown

Flag: United States

Home Port: —

Sharon DeHart – 1990-2002

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

Operator: Gulfcoast Transit Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Sharon DeHart – 2002-2013

Owner: Tampa Electric Co., Tampa, FL

Operator: Tampa Electric Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Coastal 303 – 2013-2018

Owner: U.S. United Ocean Services, Tampa, Florida

Operator: U.S. United Ocean Services

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, Florida

Southern Dawn – 2018-2019

Owner: Dawn Marine Services, Inc., Gretna, LA

Operator: Dawn Marine Services

Flag: United States

Home Port: —

Caroline McKee – 2019-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

Caroline McKee was constructed in 1972 by Main Iron Works at Houma, Louisiana, as their Hull #273. She was named David P. Guidry upon completion, and delivered to her new owners, American Offshore of Galliano, Louisiana, in early 1973.

David P. Guidry was sold to an unknown buyer in 1981, and was renamed Thunder. She was sold again in 1990 to Gulfcoast Transit Co., a subsidiary of Tampa Electric. She was sent to a shipyard for a refit, and a new elevated pilothouse and Bludworth ATB coupler system were installed. She was renamed Sharon DeHart, and paired with the bulk carrier barge Doris Guenther. The pair operated on the Gulf of Mexico, loading coal at ports near the mouth of the Mississippi River to Tampa Electric’s power plants in Tampa, Florida. The Gulfcoast Transit division was dissolved in 2002, and management of the fleet was transferred to Tampa Electric’s TECO shipping division.

Sharon DeHart was sold in 2013 to U.S. United Ocean Services of Tampa, Florida, and renamed Coastal 303. Her barge was included in the sale, being renamed Alabama Enterprise. The pair operated together briefly for United Ocean Services before they were laid up later in 2013. Her barge was scrapped shortly after they were laid up. Coastal 303 was sold again in 2018 to Dawn Marine Services of Gretna, Louisiana, who renamed her Southern Dawn. She never sailed under this name.

In early 2019, Southern Dawn was acquired by Port City Marine Services of Muskegon, Michigan, who had her sailed to the Bollinger Algiers Shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a major refit to prepare her for Great Lakes service. While in the yard, her exterior fittings were repaired, engines rebuilt and refurbished, and her interior and exterior were reconditioned. She was renamed Caroline McKee, after the wife of the late Bradshaw McKee, former president of Sand Products Corporation, parent company of Port City Marine Services. She departed the shipyard in New Orleans in early July 2020, passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal before calling at South Chicago, Illinois, on July 23. After a quick stop at Chicago, she headed to Muskegon, Michigan, for a small ceremony to celebrate her arrival on July 26, 2020. She paired up with the barge Commander after the event, making a test run to Ferrysburg, Michigan. She sat out most of the 2020 season at South Chicago to undergo adjustments prior to entering service. Caroline McKee was paired with the barge Commander at the beginning of the 2021 season.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on February 17, 2021


Thoreson, Jeff. “Caroline McKee”. Tugboat Information. N.d. Accessed 7 January 2021. http://tugboatinformation.com/tug.cfm?id=11840

LeLievre, Roger. Know Your Ships 2020. Marine Publishing Company, 2020. Pp. 77.

Pennock, Isaac “Caroline McKee”. Great Lakes Tugs & Workboats. N.d. Accessed 7 January 2020. https://gltugs.wordpress.com/caroline-mckee/