What are tug boats?

Tug Boats

A tug or more commonly a tugboat is a secondary boat which helps in mooring or berthing operation of a ship by either towing or pushing a vessel towards the port.

A tug is a special class of boat without which mega-ships cannot get into a port. Along with the primary purpose of towing the vessel towards the harbour, tug boats can be engaged in the purpose of providing essentials such as water, air, etc. to the vessel.

Tug boat eases the manoeuvring operation of vessels by forcing or tugging them towards the port. Mega vessels can never be manoeuvred by their own. Also with the increased size of the boat, they need tug boats to carry some of their domains and tow them through narrow water channels.

Also tug boats become essential elements for non-self-propelled barges, oil platforms, log rafts etc.


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Their propulsion system is the main reason behind their enormous strength. Some secondary functions of tug boat along with easing mooring operation are listed below:

They can work as salvage boats and icebreakers. These can also have fire fighting accessories so as to provide fire fighting assistance in port or barges.
These are the most important marine element, as they act as saviour to the boat in hard times such as in narrow canals and bad weather, but on contrary, the most neglected one in the maritime industry.

The name Tug Boats gives a fair idea about the size and task of the vessel being discussed. These are relatively smaller but very powerful for their size.

These are primarily used to tug or pull vessels that cannot move by themselves like disabled ships, oil platforms and barges or those that should not move like a big or loaded ship in a narrow canal or a crowded harbour.

In addition to these, tug boats are also used as ice breakers or salvage boats and as they are built with fire fighting guns and monitors, they assist in the fire fighting duties especially at harbours and when required even at sea…

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