A tugboat, or tug, is a boat used to maneuver, primarily by towing or pushing, other vessels (see shipping) in harbours, over the open sea or through rivers and canals. Tugboats are also used to tow barges, disabled ships, or other equipment like oil platforms.

Tugboats are quite strong for their size. Early tugboats had steam engines (see steamboat); today diesel engines are used. Tugboat engines typically produce 750 to 3,000 horsepower (500 to 2,000 kW), but larger boats (used in deep waters) can have power ratings up to 25,000 hp (20,000 kW) and usually have an extreme power:tonnage-ratio (normal cargo and passenger ships have a P:T-ratio (in kW:GRT, of 0.35-1.20, whereas large tugs typically are 2.20-4.50 and small harbour-tugs 4.0-9.5). The engines are often the same as those used in railroad locomotives, but typically drive the propeller mechanically instead of converting the engine output to power electric motors, as is common for railroad engines. For safety, tugboats' engines often feature two of each critical part for redundancy.Fact|date=August 2008

A tugboat's power is typically stated by its engine's horsepower and its overall Bollard pull.

Tugboats are highly maneuverable, and various propulsion systems have been developed to increase maneuverability and increase safety. The earliest tugs were fitted with paddle wheels, but these were soon replaced by propeller-driven tugs. Kort nozzles have been added to increase thrust per kW/hp. This was followed by the nozzle-rudder, which omitted the need for a conventional rudder. The cycloidal propeller was developed prior to World War II but was only occasionally used in tugs because of its maneuverability. After World War II it was also linked to safety due to the development of the Voith Water Tractor, a tugboat configuration which could not be pulled over by its tow. In the late 1950s, the Z-drive or (azimuth thruster) was developed. Although sometimes referred to as the Schottel system, many brands exist: Schottel, Z-Peller, Duckpeller, Thrustmaster, Ulstein, Wärtsilä, etc. The propulsion systems are used on tugboats designed for tasks such as ship docking and marine construction. Conventional propeller/rudder configurations are more efficient for port-to-port towing.

The Kort nozzle is a sturdy cylindrical structure around a special propeller having minimum clearance between the propeller blades and the inner wall of the Kort nozzle. The thrust:power ratio is enhanced because the water approaches the propeller in a linear configuration and exits the nozzle the same way. The Kort nozzle is named after its inventor, but many brands exist.

A new type of tugboat has been invented in the Netherlands. The so-called carousel tug consists of a design wherein the flexibility and effectiveness of the tugboat's maneuvers is determined not by the propulsion system, but by a steel construction on deck, consisting of two steel rings. The inner ring is fixed to the ship, and the second ring rotates freely and carries a hook or winch. The ship can therefore maneuver freely and independently of the towed ship, and since the towing point rotates towards the point nearest to the towed ship, the tug can capsize only with difficulty. One prototype exists presently, but the first new tugs are expected to sail in spring 2007.Fact|date=September 2008

Types of tugboats

There are two groups of tugboats, either Inland or Oceangoing.

Inland tugboats come in two categories:Harbor tugs are the most typical of the tugboats that people recognize. They are used worldwide to move ships in and out of berth and to move industrial barges around waterfront business complexes. Their job has remained the same, but their design and engineering has changed much over the decades. Harbor tugs have evolved from paddle wheelers to the conventional tug known by all, and now to the Ship Docking Moduals and tractor tugs in the modern industry.

River tugs are also referred to as towboats or pushboats. They are designed as large squared-off vessels with flat bows for connecting with the rectangular stern of the barges. They are large and powerful, most commonly seen on the big rivers of the world. They are capable of pushing huge fleets of barges that are lashed together into "tows". Some tows can be up to 1,000 feet long and 205 feet wide. Smaller push boats are often seen handling only a few barges on inland waters. Despite their size, they are designed to push their tow rather than tow from the stern.

Oceangoing tugboats come in four categories:

The conventional tug is the standard seagoing tugboat with a model bow that tows its payload on a hawser; hawser is the nautical term for a long steel cable or large synthetic fiber rope. It operates independently and is used to tow various loads, e.g., cargo barges, ships, oil rigs, etc. This is the most versatile method of towing since the conventional tugboat is able to move its load three ways: Pushing from behind, secured to the side of the towed vessel, or by towing astern, all achieved by the use of various lines and cables in various configurations. They are importantly recognized as the design of choice for salvage and assistance of wrecked ships and in the rescue and safe return of disabled ships from the high seas.

The notch tug is a conventional tug which is assigned to tow and push a specific barge, usually built to the shape and specifications of that tugboat. A notch tug has a large towing winch on its stern, but it gets its name from the deep notch built into the stern of the barge. This notch is built in the exact shape of the tug's forward hull and can be quite deep, up to 90 feet, sometimes more. The tugboat fits snugly into the notch of the barge, and with the use of various lines can be secured firmly enough to push the barge at much higher speeds than it would if it were towing. The towing hawser remains rigged during pushing. In the event that the seas get too rough to push safely, the tug merely releases any securing lines and backs out of the notch while extending its towing hawser. Once in calmer waters, the tug can maneuver back into the notch and resume pushing. The articulated tug and barge, or ATB, is a specially designed vessel, comprised of a tugboat and a barge which are coupled using specially designed machinery. The tug is connected to the barge inside a notch, similar to the notch boat, using a system of heavy pins, clamps, and/or side pads. ATBs remain coupled all the time; the tug pushes its barge in all but the roughest seas.
The advantages of this system are speed, safety, and cost efficiency. As a unit, the ATB can push much faster than a tug can tow from astern, and the use of a coupling system eliminates many of the hazards associated with towing winches and cables. The unit is considered by authorities to be coupled in a "semi-rigid" manner and, thus, regulated by laws governing tugs and barges, rather than ships. This makes the ATB a less expensive vessel to operate.To be considered articulated, the two vessels may roll simultaneously but must pitch independently. There are three popular systems to achieve this, each having a method to lock the tug onto the barge and secure it's side to side movement, while allowing the tug to pitch freely.
Note: While ATB's can be considered integrated, the designation of ITB is not widely used nowadays, due to industry changes in design and practice.

The " [http://www.intercon.com/couplerworks.asp "Intercontinental (Intercon) System"] " uses two pins on the tug that can fit into specially designed grooves built vertically into the walls of the notch on the barge. The grooves are built with a row of zig-zag "teeth" on each edge, forward and rear. Two pins on each side of the tug's bow are equipped with the same shaped teeth on their forward and rear that, when extended into the grooves, will mesh with those on the grooves. The pins then press in tightly using great mechanical pressure. The meshed teeth prevent the tug from floating up and down or fore and aft in the notch, and the pins hold the tug evenly between both sides of the notch, securing it from shifting side to side. The tug is allowed to pitch inside the notch as it pivots on the pins' giant shafts as on axles.
The " [http://www.vesselrepair.com/BCplans.html "Bludworth System"] " utilizes a large hydraulic clamp on the very bow of the tug that fits onto a large steel bar in the deepest end of the barge's notch. The clamp uses massive hydraulic pressure to squeeze two metal discs onto either side of the bar, like a disc brake caliper on a car. The tug is also equipped with two sets of large pads on each side near the stern. One side of these pads is also fitted with hydraulic presses, and extend outward to secure the tug from side to side. The large teflon pads are firmly in contact with each side of the notch, so they are frequently lubricated to reduce friction during underway movement. The clamp grips the bar tightly preventing the tug from floating up and down or fore and aft in the notch. The side pads press out with equal pressure, holding the tug evenly in the notch, securing it from shifting side to side. The tug is allowed to pitch inside the notch as the pads are allowed to slide up and down while the clamps buttons pivot inside the clamp housing like axles.
The " [http://www.beaconfinland.com/jakjak.htm JAK System] " is now being used. It is similar in operation to the Intercon System but uses different means of coupling. Instead of a vertical groove with teeth, it uses a vertical row of evenly spaced holes (sockets) along each side of the notch. Aboard the tug, round, solid pins without teeth are mounted in the sides of the bow. The tug pulls into the notch and extends the pins, which fit into the sockets. Great pneumatic pressure is used to press them firmly into place, holding the tug in the notch. The pins cannot move around in the tight fitting sockets and prevent the tug from floating up and down or fore and aft in the notch. The pins hold the tug evenly between both sides of the notch, securing it from shifting side to side. The tug is allowed to pitch inside the notch as it pivots on the pins as on axles.
There may be other ATB coupling systems in use but these three are the most widely used.

The integrated tug and barge, or ITB, is a rigidly connected tug and barge. This means that it fits so tightly into the stern of its barge that it will roll and pitch in the same manner with the barge. The systems used to couple the two vessels are varied, but they are similar in that the connection point is virtually seamless, and for all practical purpose, they appear to be a ship. These units stay coupled under any sea conditions, and the tugs usually have poor designs for sea keeping and navigation without their barges attached. Vessels in this category cannot pitch independently from the barge and so are legally considered to be ships rather than tugboats and barges. As a result of this classification, they are regulated by authorities as ships.

Tugboats in fiction

To date there have been three children's shows revolving around anthropomorphic (living) tugboats. In the 1980s, 13 episodes were made of "TUGS". It had an American spinoff called "Salty's Lighthouse". One of the creators of that series went on to make "Theodore Tugboat". On "Tugs", the models were able to move their heads and eyes and didn't have motors. On "Theodore Tugboat", the models have motors and moving eyes.

The spaceship "Nostromo" of the movie "Alien" could be considered a tug.

Two United States Navy ocean going salvage tugs are featured in the Clive Cussler book Raise the Titanic!

The children's book "Scuffy the Tugboat", first published in 1946 as part of the Little Golden Books series, follows the adventures of a young toy tugboat who seeks a life beyond the confines of a tub inside his owner's toy store.

The Dutch writer Jan de Hartog wrote numerous nautical novels, first in Dutch, then in English. The novel "Hollands glorie", written prior to World War II, was made into a Dutch miniseries in 1978, concerned the dangers faced by the crews of Dutch tug salvage tugs.cite news
title=Hollands glorie
publisher=International Movie Data Base
] cite news
title= Jan de Hartog, 88, Author of His Own Life
publisher=The New York Times
author=Mel Gussow
date=September 24 2002
] The novella "Stella", concerning the dangers faced by the captains of rescue tugs in the English Channel during World War II, was made into a film entitled "The Key" in 1958.cite news
title=The Key
publisher=International Movie Data Base
] The novel "The Captain", about the captain of a rescue tug during a Murmansk Convoy, sold over a million copies.cite news
title=HARTOG, JAN DE [1914 - 2002]
publisher=New York State Library
] Its sequel, "The Commodore", features the narrator captaining a fleet of tugs in peace-time.

Canadian writer Farley Mowat wrote the book The Grey Seas Under telling the tale of a legendary North Atlantic salvage tug, the Foundation Franklin. He later wrote "The Serpent's Coil" which also deals with salvage tugs in the North Atlantic.

"Tugboat Annie" was the subject of a series of "Saturday Evening Post" magazine stories featuring the character of a female captain of the tugboat "Narcissus" in Puget Sound, later featured in the films "Tugboat Annie" (1933), "Tugboat Annie Sails Again" (1940) and "Captain Tugboat Annie" (1945). The Canadian television series "The Adventures of Tugboat Annie" was filmed in 1957.

Tugboat Races

Tugboat races are held annually on the Hudson River, the New York Tugboat Race, ["In search of the toughest tug," by laurel Graeber, New York Times, aug. 29th 2008.] , the Detroit River. [www.tugrace.com] and the St. Mary's River [http://thegreattugboatrace.com/news.php]


Brest harbor

USS "John F. Kennedy" (CV 67) into port
Glen class Naval Tugs in Esquimalt Harbour with Fisgard Lighthouse in background
Panamanian tugboat outfitted with lines and ropes used when helping maneuver ships
Ingram Barge Company pushing cargo barges up the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa
Voith Schneider Propeller in action
Manchester Ship Canal

ee also



*"On Tugboats: Stories of Work and Life Aboard" / Virginia Thorndike - Down East Books, 2004.
*"Under Tow: A Canadian History of Tugs and Towing" / Donal Baird - Vanwell Publishing, 277 p., 2003 - ISBN 1551250764
*"Primer of Towing" / George H. Reid - Cornell Maritime Press, 1992.
*"South Park"- Episode 83, Russell Crowe Beats people up around the world and has a tugboat as a companion.

External links

* [http://tugboatsonline.com/ A big site about tugboats.]
* [http://www.voithturbo.de/vt_en_pua_marine_vspropeller.htm Voith-Schneider Propeller]
* [http://www.novatug.nl Novatug Carrousel Tug]

Some pictures of tugboats and tugboat building
* [http://www.adayacht.com/eng/construction/dilovasi.html 18 m. Steel Tug Boat Dilovası pn dry dock and harbor]
* [http://www.adayacht.com/eng/construction/dogancay.html 25 m. Steel Tug Boat Dogancay on the sea]
* [http://www.adayacht.com/eng/construction/emreomur.html Huge propellers of 32 m. Steel Tug Boat Captain Emre Omur]
* [http://www.adayacht.com/eng/construction/sheba.html Hull of 32 m. Tug Boat Sheba]
* [http://www.adayacht.com/eng/construction/references.asp You can find some more tugboat examples from here]
* [http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/the-race-is-on-nyc-tugboat-photos/ NYC's Annual Tugboat Races]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tugboat — Tug boat , n. See {Tug}, n., 3. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • TUGBOAT — TUGboat, The Communications of the TeX Users Group (informationswissenschaftl. Veoeffentlichungen) …   Acronyms

  • TUGBOAT — TUGboat, The Communications of the TeX Users Group (informationswissenschaftl. Veröffentlichungen) …   Acronyms von A bis Z

  • tugboat — 1832, from TUG (Cf. tug) + BOAT (Cf. boat) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tugboat — [tug′bōt΄] n. a sturdily built, powerful boat designed for towing or pushing ships, barges, etc …   English World dictionary

  • TUGboat — Infobox Journal abbreviation = None discipline = digital typography language = various (usually English) website = http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/ publisher = TUG country = USA history = 1980 to present ISSN = 0896 3207 TUGboat (ISSN 0896 3207) is a… …   Wikipedia

  • tugboat — Tug Tug, n. 1. A pull with the utmost effort, as in the athletic contest called tug of war; a supreme effort. [1913 Webster] At the tug he falls, Vast ruins come along, rent from the smoking walls. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. A sort of vehicle,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tugboat — /tug boht /, n. a small, powerful boat for towing or pushing ships, barges, etc. Also called towboat, tug. [1820 30, Amer.; TUG + BOAT] * * *   small, powerful watercraft designed to perform a variety of functions, especially to tow or push… …   Universalium

  • tugboat — noun Date: 1830 a strongly built powerful boat used for towing and pushing called also towboat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tugboat — noun A small, powerful boat used to push or pull barges or to help maneuver larger vessels. Syn: tug …   Wiktionary

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