Vane Brothers, Baltimore, took delivery in January of the final boat in a series of four 3,000-hp Salisbury Class push tugs. Named the Charles Hughes, Vane’s newest addition is the 20th Maryland-built towing vessel to join Vane Brothers’ fleet since 2008.

Designed and constructed by Chesapeake Shipbuilding shipbuilders and naval architects of Salisbury, Md., Vane’s Salisbury Class push tugs have a molded depth of only 10.5', making them well suited for working in confined, shallow-draft waterways. The Charles Hughes’ operational area is the Northeast U.S.

The 3,000-hp boat is equipped with Caterpillar 3512 main engines, conventional shafts, rudders and flanking rudders. The Cats each produce 1,500 hp at 1,800 rpm and are connected to stainless steel Hung Shen troost-style 5-bladed propellers through Twin Disc MGX-5600 gears with 6:1 ratios. The propulsion package gives the tug a running speed of 10.5 knots.

The new push tug will accommodate up to seven crewmembers and has large private and semiprivate quarters.

A roomy pilothouse features both Simrad and Furuno electronics, as well as dual Rose Point electronic charting systems. There's tankage for 40,000 gals. of fuel; 15,000 gals. ballast water, 5,000 gals. water; and 5,000 gals. zero discharge tank.

Ancillary equipment includes 65-ton Patterson winches, JonRie InterTech capstans, and Fernstrum box coolers.

The Charles Hughes’ three sister tugs, the Salisbury, Annapolis and Rock Hall, were delivered in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Designed to provide exceptional crew comfort, reliability and operational efficiency, all four Salisbury Class push tugs comply with federally mandated, U.S Coast Guard-enforced Subchapter M safety standards.

“Vane Brothers takes pride in providing our customers and crews with vessels constructed to the highest standards,” Vane Brothers president C. Duff Hughes said in a statement announcing the delivery. “The Charles Hughes is another powerful, peak-performing tug that maximizes maneuverability where it is needed most.”

To create the Salisbury Class design, Chesapeake Naval Architect John Womack worked in collaboration with Vane Brothers Port Captain Jim Demske, who has overseen construction of 48 tugboats for Vane over the last two decades. “Chesapeake has such a talented group of shipbuilders right in our backyard,” said Demske. “Each tug capitalizes on safety, comfort and productivity.”

Along with the four push tugs, Chesapeake Shipbuilding has supplied 16 3,000-horsepower, model-bow tugs.

The tug Charles Hughes is named in honor of the late Charles F. Hughes, former Vane Brothers chairman of the board and the father of Vane's current president, C. Duff Hughes. Charles Hughes was a U.S. Navy veteran, Johns Hopkins University graduate, and Vane Brothers executive from 1951 to 2004.

A previous push tug Charles Hughes, built in 1975 and rated at 1,800-hp, was acquired by Vane Brothers in 1991 and sold in 2019. The classic-looking nameboards from the first Charles Hughes were refinished and are now proudly mounted on the new Charles Hughes.