The New York State Canal Corp. announced today that one of its retired Canal workboats, Tender 4, will be displayed in Amsterdam, N.Y.’s Riverlink Park as part of a new educational exhibit featuring the history of New York’s canals in the Mohawk Valley. 

The vessel has supported maintenance activities on the Erie Canal and Mohawk River for decades and will now serve a new role by teaching park visitors about the waterway and Amsterdam’s history as a canal port.

“For many years, Tender 4 plied the waters of the Erie Canal supporting our workforce as they maintained the navigable waterway, and now through this donation to the city of Amsterdam, we are ensuring residents and park visitors alike learn firsthand about canal operations,” New York State Canal Corp. Director Brian U. Stratton said in a statement. “I applaud Mayor Cinquanti and his team for creating an educational exhibit that highlights Amsterdam’s deep connection to the canal and allows Tender 4 to continue its service as an ambassador for the historic waterway.”

Amsterdam intends to display Tender 4 near the amphitheater and docks in Riverlink Park. Informational placards at the site will explain the vessel’s role in supporting canal operations and the history of the Erie Canal in Amsterdam. The boat will be located on the eastern side of the park at the end of an existing walking trail.

“This vessel and the story of how it served the canal’s operational needs over the years will make both a positive visual and educational addition to our waterfront,” Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti said.

Built in 1926 by American Boiler Works, Erie, Pa., the 40'x11' Tender 4 is one of nine tenders built for the Canal Corp. in the 1920s and is the only tender of that era that is currently retired. Tenders, larger than the Canal Corp.’s buoy boats and smaller than its tugboats, were built with a shallow draft to allow greater maneuverability than the fleet’s larger tugs, while also providing more space aboard for workers and supplies than a buoy boat.

The tenders were originally built as fleet support vessels, generally tasked with transporting supplies and people from shore to workstations on the water. Over time, they were also deployed in removing debris and pushing or pulling other vessels.

Amsterdam is a stop on the current canal system for vessels traveling east and west during the navigation season. Local recreational enthusiasts also use the Erie Canal and Mohawk River for kayaking, canoeing and fishing