The classic Four Preps song says that it is 26 miles or 40 kilometers to Santa Catalina from the California mainland. Others say it is only 20 or 22 miles but regardless of the distance the tugs of the Connolly-Pacific Company, a Subsidiary of Knife River Corp., make regular crossings of the channel with barge loads of aggregate from a quarry on the island to construction firms on the mainland. They supply their own marine construction requirements as well as marketing rock products in the Los Angeles to San Diego area. In addition to barges, a water taxi and a survey boat, the firm operates three tugs.
Recently, in keeping with US and California emission regulations, they repowered their 65 by 24-ft tug Durango with a pair of Cummins engines. Built at Main Iron Works in Louisiana the boat is a typical Gulf-style model-bow tug with a modified wheelhouse for improved visibility. With the addition of push knees and a pair of Nabrisco winches for the face wires, it mostly pushes the big aggregate barge in the more sheltered inside waters while a pair of larger boats tow the barges across the channel, but if the weather dictates the Durango can also tow.
The new 6-cylinder Cummins QSK19 M engines replace a pair of 360-HP two-stroke diesels and deliver 500 hp each into Twin Disc MG516 gears with 6:1 ratios. They swing 62 by 50-inch propellers on five-inch shafts.