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30 Jun

6 Facts about Tugboats

A few facts about tugboats.

Tugboats are an integral part of many waterborne industries. They provide navigation and assistance as needed. Today, we’re going to look at several different facts about tugboats so that you’ll have a nice overview of what they’re all about.

Tugboats Were Invented in the Early 1800s

Although some sources will say that tugboats were invented in the 1810s, it was actually March of 1802 when the first one was put into service. Called the Charlotte Dundas, this vessel started out as a paddlewheel that had been built the year before by William Symington of Scotland. Then, in 1802, he fitted his patented steam engine to the paddlewheel, and the first official tugboat was born.

Tugboats Navigate Narrow Areas

The reason tugboats are such an integral part of the seafaring industry is because of their ability to maneuver other vessels. They can maneuver through narrow canals, crowded harbors, and similar areas. This makes them indispensable when dealing with barges and large vessels. functions include docking, mooring, acting as icebreakers, assisting in salvage operations, etc.

Tugboats Will Either Push or Pull

Some people tend to use the terms towboat and tugboat interchangeably, but these are actually two different things. Whereas a towboat only has the ability to push, a tugboat can either push or pull, as needed. Depending on the situation, they may push a vessel or large object using direct contact or pull it with the use of a connected tow line.

Tugboats Come in Various Sizes

Tugboats come in many different sizes, which makes them even more versatile in the seafaring jobs they’re enlisted for. Some are quite small, clocking in at approximately 50 feet in length, whereas others can reach a “gargantuan” size of 250 feet. The power they expend also has a wide range of 4,000 to 22,000 horsepower.

In addition to a variety of horsepower sizes, tug boats are available in three different types. Conventional tugs, tractor tugs, and those that use an Azimuthal Stern Drive. Each of these are different in terms of their versatility, agility, engine type, bollard pull, stability, etc. The best tugboat companies keep tugboats of varying size and power to maintain versatility.

Tugboats Don’t Need Constant Refueling

Given the importance of a tugboat’s functionality and the vast distances they must sometimes cross for any given job, it’s important that they’re able to stay on the water without refueling for a long period of time. The longevity of a tugboat that has a full tank will depend on its type, size, and waterborne conditions, but all of them can last many days out on the ocean. The largest type of tugboat won’t need to be refueled for a period of 20 to 30 days.

Tugboats Keep Up with Technology

Although tugboats are simple in design, more or less, they’ve advanced a lot in recent years. They’re now equipped with advanced technologies in terms of their engine capabilities. The electronics used to carry out their waterborne functions. In the future, the industry will include zero-emission tugboats that use an electric propulsion system, one of which is already in service and acting as a test run of sorts.

Contact Dann Ocean Towing for More Facts About Tugboats

Dann Ocean Towing provides functions for waterborne vessels such as marine towing, marine construction support, project management, barge towing, and other ocean towing needs. If you’d like to know more facts about tugboats or need to enlist our services, give us a call at (813) 251-5100 today to schedule a consultation.