A garbage scow is a large watercraft used to transport refuse and garbage across waterways. It is often in the form of a barge which is towed or otherwise moved by means of tugboats; however, many are also self-propelled. They are most common in large, coastal cities, such as New York City, who may transport collected trash to neighboring ports for disposal or, occasionally, even illegally dump the payload at sea.
At times, garbage scows have been used to secretly transport illegal narcotics. In 1948, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a major bust of narcotics smugglers by United States customs guards and NYC police, with city sanitation workers searching through 20 tons of garbage on a scow in New York Harbor to search for over $1 million in drugs concealed there.
- "Hunt for Narcotics Worth $1,500,000 on Garbage Scow". Milwaukee Journal. June 26, 1948. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
- "STATES & CITIES: Garbage". Time. June 1, 1931. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- Peterson, Iver (August 31, 1987). "New Concern Raised By Waste-Dumping In Atlantic Off L.I.". New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Garbage Scow Carries Booze". San Jose Evening News. July 30, 1930. Retrieved 2 December 2010.