News Release

Explore the Historic Ocean Tugboat Hercules in a New Way!

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Date: July 4, 2021
Contact: Morgan Smith, 4158596797

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park celebrates the release of a new virtual experience that provides a virtual tour through the historic 1907 tugboat Hercules, the only surviving steam powered ocean tug in the United States. Hercules represents not only 1907 marine steam reciprocating technology at its height, but also the strength and fortitude of sailors who survived terrifying storms at sea. With up to17 crew on board, her voyages provided little privacy and prolonged bouts of boredom punctuated with storm tossed moments of terror and uncertain survival! Explore this unique survivor of the American maritime story and share in this virtual on-board experience.  

Designed to provide enhanced accessibility and remote access, this new virtual experience presents a free way to explore the ship from any location. Visitors will be able to tour through the ship from top to bottom. This includes exploring areas that are normally inaccessible to onsite visitors due to steep ladders. Take a close look inside the pilot house, crew quarters, and the engineering spaces. In each of these places, you’ll have the opportunity to view 360-degree images, historic photos, and videos describing the events of working and living on this last surviving steam ocean tug in the United States. Park Rangers are part of the program, and they will tell of the life and experiences of the crew who were cooped up together at sea; these voyages usually lasted a week or two, but on occasion might last a month or more. This was during a time when there was no internet or TV. Just like many people during the COVID pandemic, they were stuck where they both lived and worked with only each other for company and entertainment. Enjoy this freev irtual tour and experience part of the American maritime story in a way that will provide surprising similarities to your own daily life!

To experience this virtual tour, visit the App Store or Google Play, and search for “Hercules Steam Tug” or  “San Francisco Maritime.” When you see “Xplore Hercules Steam Tug” and/or “San Francisco Maritime,” you’ve found the right one!

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park includes a fleet of historic ships, Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and the Aquatic Park Historic District. Visit the Park online at; follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ SFMaritimeNPS; and join us on FB @ SanFranciscoMaritimeNHP.

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Last updated: July 26, 2021

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2 Marina Boulevard,
Building E, 2nd Floor

San Francisco , CA 94123


415 561-7000
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