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Tug Engineer

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  • Tug Engineer

    Alright guys, I was wondering if any of you have experience working on tug boats? They really interest me as a job prospect, can anyone give me some past experiences they've had on tugs and whether you'd recommend it or not. Also what company did you work for?

  • #2
    Depends what kind of tugs you mean. I know people who work on harbour tugs in the UK and it’s a dead man shoes situation, very popular and usually involving secret handshakes to get the job!

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    • #3
      Aye i was referring to harbour tugs, and yeh I figured it might be more of a retirement job as opposed to something I should be doing at the start of my career.

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      • #4
        They also pay fairly high as you are likely to be a sole chief engineer onboard (and will require qualification and experience at that rank). I know the tugs near me are 7on/7off (on call at night, you stay at home apart from maintenance in the day) and pay £50k for the sole engineer. Most guys jobshare it: 1 on 3 off weeks for half the money.

        I’d say it’s a fairly bad place to aim without experience and tickets, as your chances would be low.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by trooper96 View Post
          Alright guys, I was wondering if any of you have experience working on tug boats? They really interest me as a job prospect, can anyone give me some past experiences they've had on tugs and whether you'd recommend it or not. Also what company did you work for?
          Gain experience on costal tugs/multi-cats there’s a few operators in the uk

          Briggs Marine
          GSS
          Delta Marine
          MTS
          Holly Head Towing
          Inverlussa Marine
          GPS Contractors
          Leask Marine

          Keep an eye on the serco career page they have jobs coming up now and then
          Good luck


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            Originally posted by trooper96 View Post
            Alright guys, I was wondering if any of you have experience working on tug boats? They really interest me as a job prospect, can anyone give me some past experiences they've had on tugs and whether you'd recommend it or not. Also what company did you work for?
            Trooper96, Hopefully I would be able to answer a few questions for ya. I currently work for Svitzer as a Tug Master in Southampton and have previously worked for Ostensjo and Fairplay after finishing my cadetship and a year as 2nd mate with P&O Ferries.

            The current state of harbour towage in the whole of Europe is crazy. The whole industry used to be as agibbs98 says dead mans shoes and very good conditions however these guys are all retiring at once and their is a MASSIVE shortage of tug crews.

            Currently we are getting OOW's from Seamariner with no experience and Svitzer are making a few of these guys permanent each week in the U.K. Likewise with engineers, they are taking guys on with their EOOW tickets and putting them through the 9000kw chiefs certification. A real credit to the company as they are giving loads of guys that start after qualifying that I understand today is so hard to get.

            To put it simply, the job is awesome. I would never go back now to the 'big ships'. The work is varied and a challenge as you have to look after the tug like any other ship just with a 3 possibly 4 man crew. Granted, a lot of the maintenance is done in refit periods and/or by contractors, however class and flag requirements and the administration on-board is left to the crew along with all the towing at the same time. Whilst this sounds like a lot everyone on-board helps everyone out and their is no bull**** which allows thing to run so much smother.

            Actually towing ships may seem like the same thing day in day out however its totally different every job and never gets old. Again if you get with a good crew everyone can do everyone's job and its not uncommon for engineers to be driving the tug and towing the ships.

            For engineers the propulsion setups can be different (based on talking to crews I have worked with who came from big ships.) 99% of harbour tugs in the U.K. now are either Voith or aquamaster (z drive podded propulsion) However I understand the maintenance and running of these drive's are not hard to pick up. Other than that you almost always have 2 medium or high speed diesel engines, generators and all other ancillary plant you'd find on a normal ship. This being said the time has come where deisiel electric, lng tugs, 'hybrid' tugs are all starting to appear so obviously this may be different for the engineer.

            The rota patterns are pretty much time for time (unless you can get with a german towage provider, impossible unless you are a german citizen where they work 1 week on, 3weeks off for just shy of 90k euros a year.)
            In the U.K. the money is great for what you do and the biggest advantage is you are left to manage your own hours and time around the jobs and running of the tug. This means that in many ports the crews do not live on-board and commute in when required. Obviously living within the immediate area of the port you are working from is necessary.

            If you have any specific questions please let me know id gladly try and help to answer them.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the response mate, this is the sort of reply I was looking for. I'm not sure what it is that attracts me to tugs but I do find them very interesting and would love to work on them, I might have to send my CV into Seamariner and see if they have any vacancies going. Do you think you'll be at that company for the foreseeable future or are you wanting to move on? Also what is your accommodation like?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by trooper96 View Post
                Thanks for the response mate, this is the sort of reply I was looking for. I'm not sure what it is that attracts me to tugs but I do find them very interesting and would love to work on them, I might have to send my CV into Seamariner and see if they have any vacancies going. Do you think you'll be at that company for the foreseeable future or are you wanting to move on? Also what is your accommodation like?
                Sorry for the late reply mate.

                No drama's, I have sent you a DM with my email if you have any other questions.

                Yeah I like Svitzer, as everywhere they have a few issues going on at the moment. Mainly because of stiff competition in the U.K. at the moment however their is a real effort from the management and the crew's to pull through so things are looking up.


                The accommodation varies between vessels really. Naturally the larger tugs for terminals that crews live onboard for the duty period have better accommodation than the smaller harbour tugs. To give you an idea this link is for a fairly respectable size terminal tug. http://ral.ca/2010/10/28/m-v-svitzer-pembroke/

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