Founded in 1976, as the the American Navigation Company of San Francisco, California. By a high school shop teacher who had a passion for tugboats.
He later recieved word of an auction in San Diego, California sponsored by the United States Navy. Up for auction, was a small, 65(ft) tug with a 450 horsepower engine. Placing a bid, he won the auction. After taking possession of the tug. He moved it to San Francisco, California.
However, the tug’s engine proved to be too small to dock the large vessels calling on the port San Francisco Bay. A newer, 1,250 horsepower diesel was acquired. Which tripled the previous horsepower. The tug, was later chosen to dock the Queen Mary II on her maiden voyage to San Francisco, California.
A second tug was acquired, at another Unites States Navy auction. The second tug was 85(ft) with a 850 horsepower engine. This tug was then repowered and her horsepower quadrupled. The company opted for a 4,000 horsepower locomotive engine.
American Navigation was developed tugboats with high horsepower engines in relatively small hulls. Their current designs complimented American Navigation Company's roots with the newer generation tractor tugs.
In 2005, the company was acquired by the Foss Maritime Company of Seattle, Washington. Where the new company was dubbed AmNAV Maritime Services. Based out of Oakland, California. Where it operated as a subsidiary of Foss Maritime.