This is an image of the Waterford which is one of the larger tugs on the Erie Canal. The protection on the bow and sides of the tug are called baggywrinkle and are made from rope. They braid it and fray it so it looks like stuff that is as old as the tug. In some cases the baggywrinkle outlives the tug it is on. These old tugs are diesel powered and have really ancient engines and most carry their own mechanic who has worked on the engine all his life. These tugs are just part of the history of the canal and usually are pushing barges or the dredge which is working to keep the canal depth regular so that if the boat fits in the lock it also has enough depth to transit the canal. I saw a few 80 feet long cruisers on the trip.