The Feeney family’s involvement in New York’s marine industry dates back to the 1860s, when Owen Feeney emigrated from Ireland to America and became a stonemason on the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Owen’s son, Bryan, entered the industry as a tow boater on the canal, and it was Bryan’s son, Thomas A., who founded Feeney’s in 1904.
Feeney’s is located 100 miles up the Hudson River, in a tributary known as the Roundout Creek. At the time Feeney’s specialized in building wooden barges and scows. Between 1917 and 1931 Feeney’s was constructing an average of fourteen a year. Feeney’s simultaneously was also concentrating building their own fleet while meeting the needs of their customers. The fleet began in 1922 with three ships, and grew to twenty six throughout the years.
As the company entered its fourth decade, the marine industry began to transition from wooden based construction to steel. To meet these emerging standards, Feeney’s retooled its facility in 1941 and began fabricating steel-hulled barges. Following the passing of Thomas A. Feeney in 1959, his sons, Thomas J. and Bernard A. Feeney assumed ownership of the business. The shipyard prospered throughout the 1960s. During this decade, Feeney’s constructed 75 new vessels and expanded their own towing fleet to eight tugboats and 40 barges. However, the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway began to divert traffic away from Feeney’s main towing operations in the New York State Barge Canal. Business began to decline sharply during the 1970’s, in an effort to minimize the financial impact of its diminished towing business, Feeney’s constructed a 1500 ton floating dry dock. This allowed Feeney’s to begin to further develop their repair operations.
In 1981, Thomas J. Feeney passed away, and his eldest son, Thomas R. Feeney, took over as President and CEO. In order to consolidate control of the company within one family, he bought out Bernard A. Feeney’s family. Soon after assuming control, Thomas R. realized that the shipyard would need extensive modernization to remain viable in the marketplace of the 1980s and beyond. Within the first two years of his presidency, he arranged the purchase of a 125 ton Lima crane, a 20 ton rough terrain Omega crane, two new air compressors, new welding machines, and many small hand tools. This re-tooling was the first major modernization that yard had undergone since the change from wood to steel construction in 1940.
Between 1981 and 2001, the yard survived mainly on scow and barge repair. During this period, Feeney’s also constructed five new 140’ x 40’ x 11’ x 3” scows, a 140’ x 55’ x 11’ x 3” crane barge, a 180’ x 90’ x 9’ dry dock hull, and one 78’ x 40’ x 8’ anchor handling vessel. While new construction was nice, it was difficult to remain competitive with other aggressive new building facilities.
After 2001, Feeney’s steadily moved into the tug repair market. Relationships with Norfolk Tug and Barge, Buchannan, Vane Brothers, Kirby Transportation, Reinauer Transportation, Gellatly and Criscione, Port Albany Ventures, and Harbor Ferry Service, and many others were cemented on one simple principle: hard work and good service will bring customers back.
Throughout the 2000’s Feeney’s was very fortunate to have completed every type of job from a simple up-and-down dry docking to an extensive overhaul and complete refit. Feeney’s completed four “Beacon Finland JAK Pin” installations since from 2005 to 2009. Two of these, the Houma and Davis Sea, were for K-Sea Transportation, and two, the Stephen Reinauer and Dace Reinauer, were for Reinauer Transportation.
The JAK conversions allowed the yard to forge new relationships with other skilled tradesmen. We have worked closely with Donovan Marine, General Marine Electric, JMS Naval Architects, GMT Electronics and First Electric Motor Service to complete the vessels in a timely and efficient manner. We look forward to continuing our relationships with these talented tradesmen in the future.
In 2006, Feeney’s installed 350’ of new steel sheet piling bulkhead and upgraded our electrical services at two points within the yard. In December 2008, a 120’ x 60’ heated and sheltered fabrication building was constructed. This building allowed Feeney’s to do most of their own fabrication. It is now home to two 10 ton overhead cranes, a 40 x 10 High Definition Plasma Cutter, a state of the art Ogden single sided welder, and a six headed frame welder.
After 2010 Feeney’s has invested greatly within the company to expand technologically and geographically. A second 1500 ton drydock (175’ x 54’), and three Manitowoc 4100 cranes has greatly improved our ability to service both of our drydocks, fabrication building, and our recently expanded South Yard. Thanks to our thirteen acre property we now have the capability to store, conduct repairs, and complete new construction projects. Depending on the sizes of the vessels on land we have room to store six to eight barges at a time. Our purchase of twelve industrial marine airbags (50’ x 6’) enables us to haul and launch barges in a safe manner.
At Feeney's Shipyard we value the hard work and dedication our employees, past and present, have given to our shipyard. If it wasn’t for their dedication to safety and the environment, our family owned shipyard would not be where it is today. We at Feeney's hope to continue to supply our customers with quality work well into the future.