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Nautically minded

Created date

October 27th, 2009

[caption id="attachment_6453" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Hugh Ware takes a break at Brooksby Village, where he lives and stays busy as editor-in-chief of Tugbitts, a magazine about tugboats. (Photo by Setarreh Massihzadegan)"][/caption] Hugh Ware spends his time physically on land at Brooksby Village, but mentally, he s in tune with the seas. I m nautically minded. I swear my blood pressure goes up and down with the tides, Ware says. As president of the Tugboat Enthusiasts Society of the Americas and editor-in-chief of its quarterly journal, Tugbitts, he has to be. Honest subject When Ware retired in 1992 after 25 years as a technical writer at Mitre, a Boston nonprofit dealing with scientific and engineering issues, he says, I wanted to keep pushing words around. At first, he wasn t sure where he would focus his writing, but he knew he had always liked tugboats. Tugboats are honest. They re like a bulldozer there s no pretense, he says. Tugboats are used to push or tow vessels such as barges and other boats. They re systematically a floating engine, grudging accommodations for the humans, says Ware. He adds that the average American tug is 38 years old, but there are 100-year-old tugs still doing adequate work and helping an economy that relies upon them. When Boston hosted its first tugboat muster, or parade, Ware seized the opportunity and wrote an article about it for the local magazine Messing About in Boats. From there, he began working on a book about tugboats, which took him to various conventions and aboard boats across the world. The first chapter of his book was an explanation of how Boston s iconic USS Constitution, one of the world s oldest naval vessels, gets up and down Boston Harbor. The laborious process involves four tugboats and calls to Logan Airport to ensure that low-flying planes won t interfere with the ship s mast. Retirement career Shortly after he began his research, Ware broke a story about a new type of tugboat, which prompted Pacific Maritime Magazine to take a chance on him. His newfound expertise led to regular tugboat-related writing and editing gigs. Now Ware writes a monthly column on the international maritime industry, which appears in four magazines published from Massachusetts to New Zealand. The column requires Ware to stay on top of world tugboat and shipping news by scanning the Internet regularly. If I m not there for a day or two, I have a lot of homework, he says, adding of his work, It s absolutely fascinating. Between writing the column and editing Tugbitts, Ware keeps plenty busy. But he still finds time to participate in events at Brooksby, where he and his wife have lived for the past year, since moving from Manchester by the Sea. At Brooksby, Ware is a member of the Unitarian group, participates in a mixed-bag discussion group, and he recently took a fellow resident s course in early American poetry. He was also nominated for the Resident Advisory Council, which acts as a liaison between those who live at Brooksby and those who manage the community, but he says he smartly declined. After all, he is supposed to be retired.