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-   -   " Tractor " Tugs On The River ! (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/3546-tractor-tugs-river.html)

Ted Davisson 04-25-2010 11:19 AM

" Tractor " Tugs On The River !
 
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Greetings From New Orleans ,
Over the past few years " Tractor " Tugs have come to the Greater New Orleans area on the river and they have surely but slowly made their presense known . Over my thirty years of piloting ships on the Mississippi River between New Orelans and Baton Rouge I have witnessed the very slow but dramatic evolution of the " Ship Assist Tug " industry on the Lower Mississippi River . From the time of my Pilot Apprenticeship in 1979 , I have seen the four predominent tug companies ( E.N. Bisso , Willie Bisso , Cresecent Salvage & Towing , and RIVCO , now Moran ) progress from 800 hp & single screw steam & diesel tugs to the present day 4,000 hp double and tripple screw convention tugs . Now , I am also witnessing the arrival of the
modern day " Tractor Tug " here on the Lower Mississippi River .
The term " TractorTug " is a rather generic term for any one of a number of non conventional propulsion and steering systems that are on the last generation of tug boats . Basically , the new " Tractor Tugs " are equiped with twin azi pods located not at the stern of the tug but near the stern of the tug . The azi pods rotate 360 degrees and give the tugs incredible power and maneuveribility ! For example , in a high water situation , with a strong current , the " Tractor Tug " can easily back out on its line at a 90 degree angle to the ship and thus do a more efficient job of turning a ship regardless if the ship is headed down or headed up .
The new " Tractor Tugs " are also more comfortable for the crews of these vessels and also provide a safer working environment for them as well !
The only drawback that I see with the new " Tractor Tugs " is that they are deeper in the water and because they are so efficient and maneuverable , I feel that a certain skill level with the role of the Pilot will be lost !
Smooth Sailing !
Ted Davisson

Shipyard Sam 04-25-2010 10:34 PM

The same principle of this propulsion is the "Z-drives" that I first found on the 400' X 110' GRAND VICTORIA I on the tiny Fox River where six Z's allowed unbelieveable manueverability on the tight quarters of the Fox. But, though the drives allow amazing movement and precision in boat-handling, it still takes a person with the natural instinct to handle a boat. Whether utilizing the power of a paddlewheel, single or double-screws, or Schottle Z-drives, it still take a good pilot with the right stuff to bring it all together.

Ted Davisson 04-26-2010 04:27 PM

Capt. Don , You are so right !
 
3 Attachment(s)
Greetings From New Orleans ,
Capt. Don , you are so right concerning having the " Right Stuff " , inorder to handle any type of steering or propulsion system on any type of vessel ! In fact , its my understanding that these Tug Boat , Captains undergo extensive training on these " Tractor " Tugs before they are allowed to operate these vessels on their own . On one occasion I was permitted to handle a " Tractor " Tug when I was given a ride on the tug from Donaldsonville back to Burnside after completing an assignment . The Pilot House of these " Tractor " Tugs are right out of an episode of Star Trek and the Pilot/Operator sits in a designated Captain's Chair , with joy stick controls on the arm rest of each respective engine . To put it simply , its similar to handeling an out board motor but the engine never really stops and inorder to slow the engine and vessel the Pilot/Operator of the tug simply turns the engine/azi pods to a 90 degree out board position and the wash of the azi pod acts similar to a dam in the water and slows the tug . It was a real thrill and challenge to operated this vessel and YES it does take time to learn all the intricies and quirks concerning these modern day " Tractor " Tugs !
Hope You Enjoy !
Smooth Sailing !
Ted Davisson



[QUOTE=Shipyard Sam;21298]The same principle of this propulsion is the "Z-drives" that I first found on the 400' X 110' GRAND VICTORIA I on the tiny Fox River where six Z's allowed unbelieveable manueverability on the tight quarters of the Fox. But, though the drives allow amazing movement and precision in boat-handling, it still takes a person with the natural instinct to handle a boat. Whether utilizing the power of a paddlewheel, single or double-screws, or Schottle Z-drives, it still take a good pilot with the right stuff to bring it all together.[/QUOTE]


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