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Steve's Guide To Vessel Types.


The tugboat has a number of functions ranging from towing vessels into berths, to firefighting, salvage and anchor handling/positioning.

Tugs range in size (and power) depending on the tasks that they required to perform. A small harbour tug may only have 3 - 400 BHP (Brake Horse Power), whereas a large ocean-going salvage tug may have up to 10,000 BHP engines, capable of towing large cargo vessels off sandbanks and rocks.

The European tug (as pictured above) is very different in shape and size, from the U.S. "Pushboat" which can be seen plying up and down the Mississippi river system, and modern European style tugs are being built with their engines amidships, propellers on the two sides of the vessel, to allow 360 degree manoevrability, ie turning on a sixpence, and sailing in any direction with equal ease -forwards - backwards - sideways. They are great fun to steer -believe me, I know !!!

Great care should be taken by those hiring tugs to tow their objects, when considering the towage contract being used. Many of such contracts are on a "knock for knock" basis of liability and tugboat owners can considerably reduce their potential liability to the towed object with clever "hold harmless" agreements within those contracts. While such "knock for knock" agreements (as found within TOWCON or SUPPLYTIME 2005) are commonly used in the wider world, in the USA a more equitable regime of liability is often the case, but nevertheless, hirers beware !!

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