Latham Smith founded Smith Maritime in 1968 when he built his first oceangoing
boat, the Tug ELSBETH, Miami River, Florida, with a little help from his friends.
Since the successful operation of that boat, Latham has built three more tugboats, the ELSBETH
II in 1987, and the ELSBETH III, in 1998 and Rhea in 2002. These four sisters have in common
the unique influence of Latham's grand design and character.
The tugs are designed with maximum horsepower packaged in as shallow draft and stable a hull as nature allows. And as nature allows, the lines and curves follow a classic proud beauty. Within the bulkheads of each brightly painted vessel are everything a seaman could want: Freshly maintained machinery and back up systems, a full outfit of rigging gear and safety equipment, satellite communications and navigational aids, private cabins with creature comforts, and a generous food supply. There has been given to each boat a decorative, wood paneled homelike environment.
Smith Maritime's vessels operate primarily between the U.S., the Caribbean & South America. More recently to several ports in Europe, the Mediterranean Sea & Pacific Northwest. Our history is one of dedicated service with a superior loss record. Throughout these 38+ years, we have towed vessels of every description all over the world. We have had major storms, exotic foreign calls, participated in many interesting projects and made a thousand friends.
Our services include ocean and coastal towing, pipe & cable laying, submersible operations, cargo & dredge ops, demolition, harbor, anchor and buoy handling, and most exciting of all, salvage and rescue.
An offshoot of Smith Maritime is Latham's shipyard on the St. John's River in Green Cove Springs, Florida. This shipyard was set up in 1995 as a place to build new vessels and maintain the fleet. The ELSBETH III and her twin sister Tug RHEA were built here.
In 2006, Red Dog Barge Lines, LLC. purchased the "Dixie Diver" (ex. Cal Dive I). She is a 250 Ton Derrick Barge that has been refit and rebuilt at our Morgan City, LA location. Latham renamed in honor of his wife Dixie A. Smith. The "Dixie Diver" is a welcome addition to salvage operations, pipeline repair and construction.
In all we employ 35-45 people. Latham is the mastermind of planning and engineering and takes to the road frequently to look at various equipment and projects. He also continues his role as Captain on any of the four tugs or off managing assets in salvage operations. Several of our crew have been with us 20 or more years, and we continue to add new personal to our great towboat & barge teams!
We welcome your inquiries for towage quotations and equipment purchase.