‘Mail by the pail’

The J.W. Westcott II’s Capt. Bill Redding, right, hands over packages of coffee during a delivery to the American Mariner. Image: The New York Times

The little boat with its own ZIP Code has sailed into the pages of The New York Times.

The J.W. Westcott II, a tugboat that delivers mail and packages to ships passing through Detroit, was the subject of a photo essay in the newspaper this week.

The article describes how the boat — ZIP Code 48222 — chugs out to freighters and delivers parcels to the crews, often hoisting the mail with a rope and bucket.

The Westcott II’s motto: “Mail by the pail.”

The crew reports that First-Class Mail volumes are down, but most ships have wireless internet so sailors are shopping online like everyone else. “[O]ur packages … are up,” owner Jim Hogan tells the Times.

The Atlas Obscura news site profiled the Westcott II last month.