"There he goes - always playing 'Mr. Nice Guy'! What a bore."
Top Hat on ten cents, "Sunshine"

Ten Cents is a switcher from the Star Fleet used for a wide variety of tasks around Bigg City Port. His capabilities range from towing barges to liner docking operations.

Unlike the other tugs of Bigg City Port, Ten Cents' hooter was modeled to resemble a face complete with a red flat-cap like Sunshine's; its tone is strident but middle-pitched and Ten Cents almost always sounds it in quick double or triple bursts.

He speaks with an East End Cockney accent.



It’s implied that prior to the 1920s, Ten Cents was a switcher who did basic jobs for Captain Star rather than bigger ones alongside the other, bigger tugs in the Star Fleet. However, Ten Cents got his chance of helping tow in an ocean liner when the Z-Stacks knocked Big Mac out of action.

Ten Cents usually works with Sunshine, the Star Fleet's second and smallest switcher. They have shared many adventures, almost to the extent that it is impossible to imagine one without the other. Ever since Sunshine joined the fleet, he and Ten Cents have been the best of friends. Hercules often relies on Ten Cents to look after others such as Lillie Lightship or the Duchess.

When Zorran successfully framed Sunshine for an accident during the towing in of the Duchess, Ten Cents was the only tug that didn’t lose his likeness for him and tried to find him. The truth soon got out thanks to Izzy Gomez being a witness.

When a mysterious tug was stealing barges delivered by Ten Cents in the night. Ten Cents was blamed since he was the one who delivered them, but Captain Star’s suspicion that he was the thief went after multiple thefts. The poor switcher still felt that his own fleet was losing their trust in him, like Captain Star.

On the night the tugs were sent out to nick the thief, Grampus found Ten Cents and Sunshine and told them the real thief was being blackmailed by criminals. After finding the tug, Sea Rogue, they waited for the Pirate Tugs to come out their warehouse and then captured them. Ten Cents’ actions that night fixes his credibility and Sea Rogue and his uncle return to their home up-river.

For the annual regatta, Ten Cents towed Little Ditcher.

During a time vessels were being quarantined outside of Bigg City Port for 40 days, Ten Cents risked getting infected as he raced with Zorran to Nantucket after hearing from Sunshine that the tramper's flags down had gone down - without authority in sight. O.J. stopped him and his faulty engine overheated in the process. Ten Cents’ lack of thinking was what stopped Captain Star from selling O.J. for scrap.

Ten Cents and Sunshine found Boomer one night and stayed by him as every job he took, even the simplest, resulted in some form of serious misfortune for him and others. Sunshine theorised that the jinxes were caused by Ten Cents’ hooter whistling. Ten Cents denies it, though a test proves otherwise. Even so, a schooner towed by Boomer gets set alight without Ten Cents being there. Despite everything, it turned out well in the end when Boomer was turned into a houseboat. Though a tree fell down, no one got hurt by Ten Cents blowing his whistle near Boomer after he was rebuilt.

Ten Cents was the Star Tug who helped Zebedee with a loose barge. Later, Zebedee unwillingly saved Ten Cents, Sunshine and Scuttebutt Pete, then the entire Star Fleet and the Princess Alice, leaving Ten Cents and Sunshine a lot to repay him. For the Z-Stack's good deeds, Ten Cents offered Zebedee a place somewhere, but Zebedee, knowing what it was, rejected it before it could be said. As they parted ways, Zebedee told Ten Cents he thought too much.

As winter was coming in, Ten Cents and the other Star Tugs completely dismissed Big Mac when he said he saw ghosts on his way back to the Star Dock. The next night however, Ten Cents and Sunshine saw some ghostly tugs sail by and a galleon emerge from under the sea. In the morning, Hercules explained to his fleet who the white tugs were and that the galleon was frozen in an iceberg.


While the Star Fleet were struggling to find contracts, Ten Cents offered to help Zorran find some crates (with unknown content inside) on the condition the Z-Stacks gave the Star Tugs some work. The Stars found the crates and due to a furious Captain Zero, Zorran was forced to keep a promise.

Salty's Lighthouse

In Tugs' spin off series, Salty's Lighthouse, Ten Cents is the brother of Sunshine (who was portrayed as a female character along with Captain Star and Little Ditcher) and he looked up to Hercules as his older brother.


Ten Cents is one of the younger and braver Star Tugs. He has a tendency to be somewhat cheeky at times, but is strong-willed, and it takes a lot to break him. He is quick-witted and takes action swiftly without hesitation. He never lets other tugs bully him, never fails to stand up for others, and is always willing to set aside his own safety for the sake of others. He has a bit of a short temper, but he is also smart enough to listen to the advice of the older, more experienced tugs. He also shows a great deal of respect and kindness to others around him, by tooting his whistle all the time and greeting other tugs such as Boomer, or even the likes of the Z-Stacks.

Technical Details


Like the rest of the Star Fleet, Ten Cents is based on the tugs of San Francisco from the 1920s, and his name reflects his American origins.


Ten Cents is painted in the Star Fleet's corporate livery. This consists of a black hull, a yellow superstructure, white mast, and an American flag-styled red, white, and blue funnel. His name is painted on the sides of his bow in white and he has the number "1" on his funnel. He wears a blue cap.




Books and Annuals

Salty's Lighthouse


  • Mixed Signals
  • Too Young to Be Included
  • Taking Off
  • Let's Party
  • Blackout
  • One Bad Day
  • Hands Off!
  • Salty Come Lately
  • Count on Me
  • Knot So Nice
  • Taking My Turn (cameo)
  • Backwards Day
  • Banana Splits
  • Clear the Decks
  • Claude in Charge
  • The Favorite
  • Strike Up the Band
  • Blankety Blank
  • The Last of the Red Hot C-Gulls
  • Farley Frog
  • Boss Man
  • Sophie Come Home
  • Who Took My Crayons
  • High Spirits
  • Some Guys Have all the Luck
  • Dream On
  • Sound Off
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Who Turned Off the Lights?
  • If the Clue Fits, Wear It
  • Desperately Seeking Sadie
  • The Big Birthday Splash
  • Stop the Music
  • Let's Wing It
  • No Strings Attached
  • Guilty Gull
  • Bivalve Blues

Audio Files


Voice Actors


Salty's Lighthouse


  • In 2012, Ten Cents' model was purchased by The Star Tugs Company and is currently on display at the TUGS Exhibition.
    • It is currently unknown if Ten Cents' other face masks still remain in existence.
  • Ten Cents is the only tugboat to have his own sentient whistle, despite the fact it never had a speaking role. However it was said to have caused a jinx in the episode Jinxed.
    • According to modelmaker Chris Lloyd, Ten Cents got his whistle from an ocean liner.[1]
  • Ten Cents is one of the only characters to appear in every episode, the other two being Sunshine and Top Hat.
  • In a picture from Ten Cents' Busy Day, Ten Cents is depicted as a harbour tug like Big Mac, O.J. and Warrior, rather than a switcher.
  • He was the first model to be made.


"You saying I'm a crook?!"
— Ten Cents to Zebedee, Pirate
""I was, er... I was looking for Ten Cents, eh... sir?"
"Yeah. Well, you just found him."
"Ah! I'm... Sunshine... sir."
"It's good to meet 'ya. Come on, let's get to work. The Star Fleet's docking an ocean liner this afternoon, and if we get a move on, we'll be finished in time to watch."
"Yes, sir!"
"Now... now look, Sunshine, you only call Captain Star 'sir'. I'm just Ten Cents, okay?"
"Yes, sir, sure thing, Ten Cents."
Sunshine meeting Ten Cents for the first time, Sunshine
"Big Mickey!"
— Ten Cents watching Big Mickey keeling over, Munitions


7 Tugs | 1 Submarine | 1 Former Member
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