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Shearer Towboat Designs


The Shearer Group, Inc. naval architects are intimately familiar with the current U.S. Coast Guard, loadline, and class requirements. In addition, we are involved in critiquing the U.S. Coast Guard’s notice of proposed rulemaking for inspection of towing vessels (known in the industry as “Subchapter M”). Our involvement during the nascent stages of Subchapter M has positioned The Shearer Group, Inc. well for designing new Subchapter M compliant tugs, and for consulting with existing owners and operators regarding modifications that they may want to make to their vessels to bring them into compliance.


The Shearer Group, Inc., has designed many barges and a myriad of conventional and z-drive towboats for use on the inland waterways. Most notably, The Shearer Group, Inc. recently designed two different revolutionary z-drive towboats for Southern Towing Company, eight of which were built, six 3,200 HP vessels and two 2,400 HP vessels..

Additional towboat design experience includes:

  • 66’, 1100 HP twin screw towboat design from which four vessels were built to shift loaded and empty coal barges at a coal-powered generating plant.
  • 1100 HP twin screw towboat design, two of which were built for short line-haul use on the Ohio River.
  • 90’, 800 HP twin screw towboat design for the Tennessee Valley Authority which is used for channel maintenance on the Tennessee River as well as for inspection tours of the area
  • 2800 HP twin screw towboat design, five of which were built. Additionally, The Shearer Group, Inc. provided construction oversight and acted as consultants for the owner during construction of these vessels.
  • Conversion of a triple screw 800 HP inland service towboat to a 1200 HP twin screw towboat.
  • Repowering of two 60’ inland service tugs in Columbia, S.A., including construction oversight.
The Shearer Group, Inc. is a leader and innovator in the inland towboat industry, and we look forward to continuing in this capacity. Contact us today with your thoughts and ideas, and let us help you make them a reality.


Please click the button below to read about z-drives written by TSGI's President, Greg Beers, P.E., and Ed Shearer, P.E., a Principal Naval Architect at TSGI.

Read about z-drives

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Deloach Marine Towboat

"Cutting Donuts" after the conversion we did was complete.