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What causes tugboat accidents in freshwater?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Maritime Law |

Tugboats are small but extremely powerful vessels that can pull barges and ships leaps and bounds larger than themselves through the sometimes rough waters of rivers. Of course, along with this power comes the potential for catastrophic accidents.

Unfortunately, tugboat crews face the possibility of accidents any time they hit the water. But where are the biggest sources of risk?

Collisions and falls overboard

4WWL starts off the list with collisions, which serve as one of the most common causes of issues among tugboat operators. Many of the biggest crashes stem from faulty or outdated equipment, as tugboat captains often have a wealth of experience to help them avoid collisions due to misguided judgment. Commonly, collisions occur with other fishing vessels and bridges.

Falls overboard also pose a huge danger. Tugboat crews must secure a barge if it were to ever come loose. But it is possible for workers to slip on the slick deck while attempting to do this, thus falling overboard. They could end up drowning or even crushed by the barge they intended to secure.

Capsizing and onboard accidents

Capsizing poses a problem, especially in inclement weather. Currents and rough waters can increase a vessel’s chance of capsizing, along with mechanical failure or colliding into a larger vessel.

Finally, onboard accidents pose a problem to crew members. Working with heavy machinery and equipment always poses a risk to those manning it. On top of that, workers have to deal with a near-constant slick deck which can easily lead to slip and fall accidents.

With all of these issues combined, it is easy to see why being part of a tugboat crew can have so many potential risks, even with the benefits of good pay and an intriguing job.