Rocky Rinehart was a “True Towboat Engineer”

By Jerry Allen
Harbor Fleet Engineering Manager

Rocky Rinehart

Rocky Rinehart, Socal chief engineer, passed away on December 27, 2017, after a short illness. If you did not meet Rocky over the 28 years he worked at Foss, you missed one of the true towboat engineers of our time. He had tow boating in his blood, having lived and grown up at the Empire Landing Rock Quarry on Catalina Island.

He was born on Catalina Island in 1953 and every day of his earliest years he witnessed the coming and going of tugs and barges hauling rocks from the island to the mainland to build docks and breakwaters.

After graduation from Avalon High School in 1971, he spent time in the construction industry and eventually ended up building cell phone towers in the remote areas. This job led him to maintaining the cell sites and the small remote power plants that supported them. Although he did not know it at the time it also prepared him for the systems found on the hybrid tugs, and he was “ahead of the curve” when they arrived.

Rocky enjoyed many different jobs at Foss but found a home on the Diane Foss for many years on the San Nicholas Island run. He had other opportunities but he stayed on the Diane and later the Edith Foss for about 10 years. Other memorable trips were the Marshall Foss delivery on her maiden voyage from the Gulf of Mexico to Long Beach. He also made the Johnston Atoll runs on the Pacific Titan when they traveled across the Pacific Ocean to do a couple of ship jobs.

Rocky had a passion for the outdoors and hiking was top of the list for him. In 2013 he took his kids for a hike in Africa. Rocky, his daughter Erin, and son Brett decided it would be interesting to go up Mount Kilimanjaro, specifically Uhuru Peak, which is 19,336 feet above sea level. It was a trip of a lifetime that few can claim they did with their kids.

Rocky is survived by his wife Carla, his children Erin and Brett, brother Ronnie and parents Butch and Janice. All of us who knew Rocky are going to miss him greatly.