Kit Jones Vessel

Darien - McIntosh County
c. 1939

The Story

The Kit Jones is a 60-foot wood-hull tugboat built on Sapelo Island in 1938-1939 by island owner and tobacco company heir R.J. Reynolds, Jr. The vessel was named for Katharine Talbott Jones, the wife of Alfred W. Jones, friends of Reynolds. After being decommissioned as a U.S. Coast Guard fireboat during World War II, the Kit Jones returned to Reynolds and Sapelo Island, continuing her service as a freight hauler and as a passenger vessel that provided a lifeline to the mainland for the residents of the island. Later the Kit Jones supported a variety of marine research projects for the University of Georgia Marine Institute and University of Mississippi.

The Threat

In 2013 the Kit Jones was put into drydock in Biloxi, and for a number of years, faced an uncertain future. The McIntosh Rod & Gun Club, Inc., a quasi-governmental partnership of McIntosh County and private club members, acquired official title to the Kit Jones in 2017 with the intention of returning it to Georgia; however, the vessel will need substantial stabilization work before it can be moved. The current rigging on the boat is adding unnecessary weight that poses additional danger to the integrity of the hull and needs to be removed.