Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tug Boats, Part 3: Tug Boat Tidbits

Tug Drivers. A small assistance tug, like one of the Sea Tow vessels, requires an operator with a "Commercial Assistance Towing" endorsement on his or her license. Licenses 500 tons and over do not require this endorsement. Large commercial tug captains generally need three years service on tugs before they can run as operator.

Tugboat Crew. The size and mission of the boat determine the crew size, which can be as small as one for very small boats wrangling log tows, to twelve or more in large multi-purpose tugs designed to move and anchor large floating oil rigs.

Largest Towboat. The M/V Mississippi (pictured above in a Morris Daily Herald photo), the flagship of the US Army Corps of Engineers, it the largest US-built towboat in service. It weighs in a more than 2100 tons, is more than 240 feet long and nearly 60 wide. Unusual for a tug, it can carry up to 150 passengers.

First Tugboat. Although the idea for tugboats was first patented in England in 1736, the first working tug was the Charlotte Dundas, a 56-ft long paddlewheeler serving Scotland's Forth and Clyde Canal. She was commissioned in 1802.

Tugboat Power. A typical tugboat uses a diesel engine nearly identical to that of a train locomotive, producing 700 to 3500 horsepower, although some ocean-going vessels have several times that power available. A tug is rated by both its horsepower and its bollard pull, a measurement of the amount of force it can exert on another object, like a barge or ship.

Tugboat Races. Seattle's Elliott Bay lays claim to the largest annual tugboat race. Other events occur each year on the Detroit River, the Hudson River, and the St. Mary's River.

To follow events in the world of tugboats, see the Tugboatlife blog here.

The entertaining and opinionated Capt. Richard Rodriguez blogs about all things tug and maritime at BitterEnd.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. I found this great website for getting a towing endorsement if anyone is interested. They are extremely helpful and easy to work with. Great article again. Keep up the good work.