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Old 11-01-2012, 10:52 PM   #1
schoen
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Tugboats????

I don't know a thing about boats... I noticed the tug boats when the Fantasy was docking last week. What exactly is their role? Or, I guess what do they do? Some people on other threads noted that the tug boats were there, which made me wonder if that is an unusual occurrence.

Any insight?

Last edited by schoen; 11-01-2012 at 10:53 PM. Reason: I know so little I didn't even realize it was one word ;-)
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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There are Coast Guard and well trained ship people who can give you a much more precise answer, but essentially the tugs help steer and guide the ship. The DCL ships can normally maneuver in and out of the channel without assistance, but with the waves, high water, etc. the tugs provide extra power/safety, etc.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:46 PM   #3
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Normally tugs are used to move powerless or ships without thrusters around, docking etc. They are powerfull and nimble and can turn on a dime, which larger ships arent and cant. Typically they will follow the pilot on the bridge of the ships directions as to where to push pull etc. Some are even outfitted as fireboats but they do assist cruise ships from time to time for one reason or another. On Port Canaveral page at one point they had a safety aspect that if the conditions were within certain parameters that the ships would be escorted by tugs. It was broken down by size basically saying ships of this size get x amount of tugs, ships of a bigger class get this amount etc. Most likely the rule is/was a safety move by the port to err on the side of safety. Cruise ships have huge sail areas and can can be moved in unwanted directions by the wind. Even if the port didnt order the tugs I wouldnt be surprised if DCL asked for them just in case.

Last edited by truck1; 11-01-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:18 AM   #4
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How it worked when I served on tugs in the Navy in the SF bay area. This may or may not apply in PC.

A certified local "captain" called a pilot familiar with the bay and its navigation channels would meet the ship on a pilot boat outside the actual bay area. From that point until the ship (or submarine) docked or moored, he was in charge of the ships movements while it was in motion. He determined - based on a lot of factors like ship size, capabilities, where it was moving to and where it was docking, weather, etc - if, how many and often which available local tugs would be used to bring the ship in. He also directed the movements of the tugs, including where they would tie to the ship. He would tell them what angles they should push or pull the ship at, and how much thrust to apply. The tugs basically become portable engines and thrusters right where the pilot needs them. This is how they could turn ships around in their own length or make them move sideways or even at weird angles that the ship could never manage on its own.

The same was true for ships leaving port - the pilot would board the ship at dock, then leave it by pilot boat once they were out of port waters.

You might be saying "that's for Navy ships, this is a cruise ship." However, the pilots were always experienced local civilians, even for Navy vessels. While we often worked with the same handful of pilots, those same pilots and their peers were responsible for bringing in every ship into and out of the bay, whether it was a Navy sub or aircraft carrier, an oil tanker or a cruise ship.

I imagine that Port Canaveral has similar policies and procedures, though they may not be exact
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:22 AM   #5
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That's what I was told as I watched the cruise ships in the NYC Port...
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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We've not been on a cruise where tug boat assistance was needed. We have seen the harbor pilot leave the Magic after assisting the captain when leaving port. It's cool to see the pilot boat come along side the Magic and then the pilot switch ships while both are moving.

On the Magic if you go forward on deck ten you can look down onto the bridge (the side bridges that stick out over the water) and watch the captain steer the ship when leaving or entering port.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristof65
How it worked when I served on tugs in the Navy in the SF bay area. This may or may not apply in PC.

A certified local "captain" called a pilot familiar with the bay and its navigation channels would meet the ship on a pilot boat outside the actual bay area. From that point until the ship (or submarine) docked or moored, he was in charge of the ships movements while it was in motion. He determined - based on a lot of factors like ship size, capabilities, where it was moving to and where it was docking, weather, etc - if, how many and often which available local tugs would be used to bring the ship in. He also directed the movements of the tugs, including where they would tie to the ship. He would tell them what angles they should push or pull the ship at, and how much thrust to apply. The tugs basically become portable engines and thrusters right where the pilot needs them. This is how they could turn ships around in their own length or make them move sideways or even at weird angles that the ship could never manage on its own.

The same was true for ships leaving port - the pilot would board the ship at dock, then leave it by pilot boat once they were out of port waters.

You might be saying "that's for Navy ships, this is a cruise ship." However, the pilots were always experienced local civilians, even for Navy vessels. While we often worked with the same handful of pilots, those same pilots and their peers were responsible for bringing in every ship into and out of the bay, whether it was a Navy sub or aircraft carrier, an oil tanker or a cruise ship.

I imagine that Port Canaveral has similar policies and procedures, though they may not be exact
Thats basically the same for port canaveral the difference being is that the harbor pilot with or without tugs basically recommends. The ship capt is still the master and held responsible and its still his/ her ship. The pilots are still the local experts on shoaling new dredgings water depths etc even immediately after a storm that moves things around underwater. They can tell what is safe or not even though the capt has been there hundreds of times.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schoen View Post
I don't know a thing about boats... I noticed the tug boats when the Fantasy was docking last week. What exactly is their role? Or, I guess what do they do? Some people on other threads noted that the tug boats were there, which made me wonder if that is an unusual occurrence.

Any insight?
It is rather unusual for cruise ships to have tugboat assistance because cruise ships have what are called thrusters. Thrusters are propellers that face sideways and are located in the bow and stern of the ship. Under normal conditions, these thruster provide ample power to turn the ship in any which direction. For example a ship can do 360s by have the bow thrusters push one way, and the stern thruster push the other way. When docking and leaving the dock, the strong vibration you feel is the thruster pushing the ship away from the dock and spinning the ship as necessary.

The conditions last Saturday were so windy that Fantasy had three tug boats assisting it to make sure it was able to safely navigate the channel. The wind is a very strong force that ships must overcome and can easily push ships off course while in narrow channels.

This drawing will give you an idea where the thusters are. There are three in the front, two in the aft (which are seperate and distinct from the main propellers).

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #9
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Also sometimes tugs may be required by local rules too, for example when the Disney Magic went through the Panama Canal for the parts in the cut and in Gatun Lake she was required to have tugboats with her just in case.
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