A Tug, as the name suggests, is designed to pull or tow something. Tugboats are used to pull ships or any sea-going vessels that can’t move by themselves. These boats are made powerful, and strong. A large selection of uses of tugboats include pulling or towing vessels through narrow water channels, rescuing, if there are any breakdowns, or towing a structure without propulsion systems. Today, we will discuss tugboat applications in an elaborate way. Tugboats are powered either by diesel engine or steam engine and their size varies as the requirement of their power changes. Thus, what we note tugboats are not generally equipped for cruising; instead is a smaller craft used to pull ships.
Tugboats and types
They are mainly categorized according to their utility and application. The three key categories in which tugboats are divided are:
- Seagoing tugs
- Escort tugs
- Harbour tugs
As said above, regardless of any type or category, tugs are basically meant for towing or pulling those vessels that cannot move on their own. The essential features of all tugs including seagoing tugs are that they all have low aft decks. Low aft decks further ensure that the towing lines have high movement freedom. The point from which towing lines are connected to the tugboat has to be positioned at the midship, hence the forces have no impact over the maneuverability of the boat. The towing lines and winches should be sturdy as they transmit the force of the propeller to the towing lines in order to pull vessels. These types of tugs have an array of applications as they are never controlled by port duties. Here are a few main uses of seagoing tugboats:
- Salvaging in case of grounding, collision or any sort of breakdown
- Researchers and environmentalists use tugs for surveying any specific area
- To pull offshore drilling platforms and also to conduct anchoring in the offshore industry
- Used to pull structures that require to be moved through narrow water channels
Escort tugs are used for escorting massive vessels along dangerous and narrow passages. These types of tugs are provided to large ships whose individual propulsion capacity is insufficient when it comes to maneuvering in unsafe waters. This feature has been introduced as a consequence to a series of misfortunes in the past that ultimately led to adverse impacts on both human and marine lives. Escort tugs are small yet sturdy craft that typically operate in the restricted waterways. These boats have significant maneuverability.
These tugs have a multitude of uses as they are used both inland and around ports for helping with towing operations in and out of the ports. Harbor tugs are also used for towing barges used to transfer cargo along the ports or in inland water ways. They assist seagoing tugboats too when the latter have to pull heavy objects. Harbor tugs are best known for their highest maneuverability as they tow and pull massive vessels within a small area. Also, these tugs are used in firefighting and also in removing ice during winters.
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