Towing Boats In Shipping

These marine vessels are primarily used for towing and pushing barges and guiding ships while maneuvering in narrow water ways. They are very powerful boats with flat fronts used to push ships and barges in to position. Tow boats have a characteristic that few marine vessels have; they have a flattish hull that helps protect the vessel from grounding in shallow waterways.

Different types of towing boats

There are many different towing boat designs developed for different jobs. Below I shall be describing some in brief to give you an outline of what towing boats really are.

Inland barge towing

These are special tow boats used to tow and push barges on inland water ways. The barges are loaded with material headed inland or being moved to bigger ports for loading on cargo ships that will export them. With the significant growth in exports towing traffic has increased considerably on inland waterways.

Tug boats and ocean towers

Tug boats are mainly used to tow or push barges and ships where there are rough waters which require extra powerful towing are pushing vessels to fight the current. Open Ocean towing also requires specialized equipment. Towing cables attaching the towing boat and cargo need to be kept extra long to allow slack that will compensate on the strain put on the cable by rough waves. Towing boats that are designated to work out in the open sea are usually very big and powerful.

Harbor and marine vessel assist tug boats.

These tow boats are specifically designed to push and pull vessels that are multiple of times bigger than them. They are fitted with powerful engines and special propellers that give the tugs extra power. These vessels are essential in harbors to maintain safety avoid any accident that could happen when big ships are entering and docking. The harbor tug may push or pull the vessel in the desired position.

Dry cargo tugs

These are also known hopper barges and are used to transport solid cargo only. The cargo can be in any form powder, granules, or pallets. Different barges are used for different products; sugar or food grain barges are covered where as gravel or sand barges are open to the elements.

Articulated Tug barges

Due to safety concerns raised when towing barges a new design was developed to eliminate the use of cables. The new design called articulated tug barge is designed with a hitch were the tug boat connects tightly on the barge and pushes it to its destination. The towing boats require a little modification to make them fit, but once done a articulated bare will be designated to a tug boat for a long period and later the next tug boat can be modified again to fit the barge.


Fire fighting

Since safety is a major concern to all vessels and harbors, sum tug and tow boats have been equipped with firefighting equipment. They mainly serve two purposes

  1. Using power full pumps driven by their big engines they can spray large amounts of foam and water over a long distance , and
  2. At the same time the can move a burning vessel from a position that it endanger others from catching fire to a safe place where they pose little danger to the surrounding area.

These vessels place a major part in the marine industry and considered very important for the smooth operation of the modern shipping industry.


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