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Thread: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

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    Default Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    I posted this on my Great Lakes Warriors Thread, but thought better of it and started a new thread for some Tugboat Stories from People that actually works on them.

    It would be great it some of the members that have spent a lot of time working on harbor tugs. It's a big difference being on a Offshore or an ATB, I have works on all of them. The only thing that I have never witnessed is anchor handling.

    So come on Guys lets here some stories about your life on Tugs.

    I will be back in later in the day to start it off.
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    I have a funny one from a few years back when I was a deckhand. It is dead winter about 30 out with some snow, we were up in the the San Juans here in WA. We had two barges at a gravel put getting loaded up. The capt. Throws out a crab pot and decided he would back the stern up to the buoy to pick it up. Well you know what happened next line in the wheel...next thing we know the mate comes running out of the galley in his boxers and yells he was a life guard as he jumps in. The capt. and I look at each other in shock (the boat is still idling not in gear). About what felt like an eternity later he pops up with the line in hand. He's smiling ear to ear but tells us he can't feel anything and needs to be pulled up. A warm shower later and he's good to go. All the while this is going on our 1 barge that was on a mooring buoy has blown onto the beach (bouy drug anchor in the wind). So rinse and repeat someone had to swim to the barge with a messenger line. The rest is history and the barge luckily pulled right off the sandy beach.
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    Way back when , I was Chief on a DC Canal Boat out of N.Y. on Winter we had made a trip out of town and as we had about 24 hours to wait for the barge to discharge we decided to head "Up the Street" for a couple of adult beverages. Before leaving I shut down the Aux Gen and left her on Battery Power. Well, we were only gone for a couple of hours but it was dark on the walk back to the boat. I was walking with the Captain (Master) and I noticed or should I say I noticed the lack of lights on the boats. So I am thinking GREAT the batteries are dead. Then to make matters worse I notice that the wheel house is down meaning that all of the air is gone.

    I tried to start the Aux Gen but for some unknown reason that battery was dead also. Around this time the Captain (Master) looks at me and says that I am fucked unless I can get the boat up and running in two hours as the barge was finishing early.

    So, I do what any good Merchant Mariner would do knowing they were fucked, I went back to the bar. So, I order a beer and I notice the guy sitting next to me has a Tow Company shirt on. So after giving him a $100.00 and running all of the airline that I had aboard I was able to charge one bottle of air. I knew that I only had one chance so I said a little prayer that my old worn out EMD would roll and start. Well she caught on the first try and I threw the breaker for the shaft generator. The lights came on and the air Compressor started to pump up.

    The Captain (Master) just looked at me shaking his head. The tow truck driver asked me to sign something for him as he said that no one would ever believe that he "Jump Started" a tug boat.

    Best thing was that no one ever blew the whistle on me, something I do not see that happening now a days.

    More stories to follow as soon as I check out the Statute of Limitations.
    A Good Friend will Bail you out of Jail, But a Great Friend will be sitting right next to you saying WOW that was a Blast!
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    Here's one for ya. I was the chief on a small harbor tug back in the late 90's. I worked for one of the two bunkering companies in NY harbor at that time. We were underway to the passenger piers to bunker a cruise ship. All was well until the captain went to round up to make his approach. Next thing you know the general alarm is sounding. Now you know I was in the galley working on the remote when the alarm goes off.... So the crew immediately reports to the wheelhouse to find the skipper with no controls and all I hear is compressed air and a lot of slamming and banging coming from underneath the dash. Now to make matters worse our upper house is suppled with air through the same supply house. Upperhouse no good for the save!!! All this is happening very quickly as we are getting set down. I immediately tell the deckhand to grab the tools need while I rip apart the dash with a screw gun. Now to access the airline I have to lay down on my back between the skippers legs. I locate the and grab the airline which is whipping around wildly. 65 psi doesn't seem like much but coming thru a 1/4" airline it was tough to catch without getting my teeth knocked out. The crew is instructed to grab all hand fenders and try to cushion the blow. I cut the fitting off the end of the hose and shove the hose on to the male JIC fitting. Doing this gives the skipper enough of his controls to save it and land the barge without incident. Now that the barge is secure I let her fly and get out of the way. So I get up and the skipper and I look to our right out of the window and there's this chic bent over tits pressed against the windows in her stateroom getting hammered from the back by some lucky bastard. The best part is she has a look on her face as she has seen me crawl up from between the skippers legs and for a split second we all have this look of confusion on our face until this knockout blonde breaks out into a big smile and slowly very slowly closes her curtains. The skipper and I must have stood there for what seemed like forever just staring out the window saying nothing. All the while the runaway airline has took on a life of its own.
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    OK, here's another Sea Story.

    I was working on a Hawser Boat out of N.Y. We were getting ready to put the Hawser out. The Captain that I was with hated Engineers (to put it mildly) We had a Deckhand that had some problems but if you gave him one job at a time he was fine. I was standing near the Captain and I noticed that the bridles were laying on the deck forward of the Cleat on the center of the Stern. I tried to tell the Skipper but he told me to mind my own business. Well when he came ahead the Wire Bridles caught on the cleat and one of them parted.

    A couple of weeks later we were once again getting ready to put the Hawser out when I saw a problem. Well this time the Captain exploded and told me to go back to my cave when I tried to point something out to him. He started to come ahead and the bridles went over the stern and the Hawser started to pay out, the Captain looked at me and said "See Everything is Fine". That's when I told him that the hawser was not shackled into the chafing chain that was connected to the Towing Bits, (H-Bit). I have to say the look on his face was priceless as he saw the end of the Hawser go over the stern.

    Most of the Tugs that I worked on had Deck Crews that like the fact that I watched and helped them by giving them another set of eyes on deck. Let's face it no one can see everything at all times. But some of the Skippers that I worked with absolutely hated any and all Engineers!

    More Seat Stories to follow.
    A Good Friend will Bail you out of Jail, But a Great Friend will be sitting right next to you saying WOW that was a Blast!
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    Quote Originally Posted by Tugs View Post
    But some of the Skippers that I worked with absolutely hated any and all Engineers! .
    Must of had something to do with their wives.
    ~ the road goes on forever and the party never ends ~
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    I worked with one old coon ass captian that was kind of like that, he pretty much hated everybody, and nobody could do anything right. This was about 20 years ago when you could actually get away with a few things. We had been at the dock for several days, on crew change the office sent a new deck hand to the boat. This captain went through deck hands like a hooker goes through condems. The captian would go have a drink about every afternoon. The new deck hand thought he was going to be cute and rat on him to the office. The captain got a phone call at the bar from someone at the office and told him he had a rat on the boat. It was real easy to figure out who it was because the rest of the crew was with the captain enjoying a refreshing beverage, including myself. Lets just say that he went out of his way to make the new deck hands life miserable. A week or so later we were offshore doing a rig move, after we got the rig set up the weather started getting kind of crappy. It was probably 8-10 foot seas. On the way back to the dock one of the lights on the mast went out. The captain tells this deck hand that he don't like to climb up there and change the bulb. Being a complete idiot with no fuzzy things between his legs he went up the mast in 8-10. While he was holding on with one hand trying to change the bulb he slipped got thrown off the mast like a pendulum, completely misses the boat, and lands with a big splash in the GOM. As he pops up he sees the tug still steaming away from him at full speed, he tells us later that he was thinking. I know that captian hates me, I know he hates me. After a couple minutes the captain calls down stairs and tells us to get some gear ready to fish this guy out of the water. We got the deck hand back on board safely but that poor kid was scared to death. I didn't see him again for years after that.
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefRob View Post
    I worked with one old coon ass captian that was kind of like that, he pretty much hated everybody, and nobody could do anything right. This was about 20 years ago when you could actually get away with a few things. We had been at the dock for several days, on crew change the office sent a new deck hand to the boat. This captain went through deck hands like a hooker goes through condems. The captian would go have a drink about every afternoon. The new deck hand thought he was going to be cute and rat on him to the office. The captain got a phone call at the bar from someone at the office and told him he had a rat on the boat. It was real easy to figure out who it was because the rest of the crew was with the captain enjoying a refreshing beverage, including myself. Lets just say that he went out of his way to make the new deck hands life miserable. A week or so later we were offshore doing a rig move, after we got the rig set up the weather started getting kind of crappy. It was probably 8-10 foot seas. On the way back to the dock one of the lights on the mast went out. The captain tells this deck hand that he don't like to climb up there and change the bulb. Being a complete idiot with no fuzzy things between his legs he went up the mast in 8-10. While he was holding on with one hand trying to change the bulb he slipped got thrown off the mast like a pendulum, completely misses the boat, and lands with a big splash in the GOM. As he pops up he sees the tug still steaming away from him at full speed, he tells us later that he was thinking. I know that captian hates me, I know he hates me. After a couple minutes the captain calls down stairs and tells us to get some gear ready to fish this guy out of the water. We got the deck hand back on board safely but that poor kid was scared to death. I didn't see him again for years after that.
    I don't like any of that, Chief. I dislike rats as much as any seaman. There are much better ways to handle this situation. I'm sure you agree.
    ~ the road goes on forever and the party never ends ~
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    I was captain on the "JP McAllister" when she was assigned to the Baltimore fleet back in the mid 90's.

    We were sent out to dock one of the Wallenius Lines car ships at Dundalk one afternoon. I picked up the docking pilot and headed for the Key Bridge to meet the ship.

    Everything was going routine, riding the port shoulder to make the turn into the west channel then drop back to the quarter as we made our way along the west side of Dundalk Marine Terminal.

    I drop back and let him know I am in position on the port quarter ready to work. Various ahead bells are given to me as we start slowing down and make the final approach.

    It went sometimg like this:

    Docking pilot: "JP, come ahead one bell"

    I acknowledge the command with the appropriate whistle response. (BTW, does anyone still use the tug's peep whistle to answer docking pilots these days? Seems like a another lost tradition out there)

    DP: "JP, hook 'er up" (he is starting to back the ship)

    DP: "JP, easy"

    DP: "JP, one bell"

    DP: "JP, stop"

    DP: "JP, back, flank straight off"

    This is about the time I inform the docking master that I do not have a line up. (He never told me to hang one, so I didn't)

    He replies: "Ok, only back her half then".

    Sometimes, it helps to have a sense of humor out here.
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweat-n-Grease View Post
    I don't like any of that, Chief. I dislike rats as much as any seaman. There are much better ways to handle this situation. I'm sure you agree.
    Yes sir I agree there was 1000 different ways to take care of that. I didn;t even know the poor kid had went up the mast, until the phone rang to go fish him out of the water. That captian has a bad reputation for antics like that. He has been run off from about every company down the bayou. He got fired from that company a year or so later for doing things similar.
    Last edited by ChiefRob; August 2nd, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Lets hear some Tugboat Sea Stories from those that worked on them

    Another quick story from the same guy. We were towing a rig, across the gulf, some body from the rig calls the boat and asks the captain for an ETA. This guy could barely read or write, so he tries to figure out the ETA, and I guess he screwed it up pretty bad. The rig calls back and questions the time that he gave them to be right. That old captian figures it up again, then calls the rig back and tells them "well I be damned that stupid calculater gave me the wrong answer".

    I often wonder how people like that even pass the test to get a license.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefRob
    Another quick story from the same guy. We were towing a rig, across the gulf, some body from the rig calls the boat and asks the captain for an ETA. This guy could barely read or write, so he tries to figure out the ETA, and I guess he screwed it up pretty bad. The rig calls back and questions the time that he gave them to be right. That old captian figures it up again, then calls the rig back and tells them "well I be damned that stupid calculater gave me the wrong answer".

    I often wonder how people like that even pass the test to get a license.
    In all likelyhood he never took an exam. When operators of towing vessels were decided to ne required to be licensed (1971 or so) they grandfathered anyone who could simply provide proof of running a tug prior to the deadline. Obviously these dinosaurs are just about done by now.
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