Tugboat Job Descriptions

Job descriptions for tugboats may differ with the size of the vessel. A large ocean
going tug may have a hierarchy of junior deck officers and junior engineering officers
reporting to the captain and chief engineer, respectively. However on the more
commonly seen smaller tugs, the job descriptions include the following:

Captain The captain is also sometimes called the “master” in some ads. However,
master is generally regarded as the type of Coast Guard license held by a captain. A
captain is ultimately responsible for the vessel and her crew. A tugboat is a high
value asset with a price tag in the millions. And the price tag of a crewmember is
priceless. The captain is therefore responsible for the safe and economical
operation of the vessel. The qualifications sought by tugboat companies can vary
according to the vessel and fleet. Some companies may seek experience in z-drives,
some may prefer familiarity with a certain body of water. A tugboat captain is
expected to possess managerial and leadership skills in addition to competence in
navigation, seamanship and towing operations. There are a number of possible
combinations of tonnage and endorsements that appear out there.

However, these are the USCG license qualifications generally sought:

▪ 100 Ton Master
▪ 200 Ton Master  
▪ 500 Ton Master  
▪ 1600 Ton Master  

Other requirements may include towing endorsements, ocean endorsements,
GMDSS and STCW 95.

Mate The mate reports directly to the captain. Depending on the vessel, the mate
handles or oversees vessel navigation, vessel docking operations, ship assist
operations, ship and barge towing operations, deck crew operations and command
of the vessel where directed by the master. Sometimes, the duties of the mate may
be more supervisory while the captain may have to be concerned with more
executive decisions. Again, this can depend on the size of the tug and the manner in
which the tug company chooses to manage its vessels and personnel. The USCG
qualifications generally sought for mate positions include:

▪ 100 Ton Mate
▪ 200 Ton Mate  
▪ 500 Ton Mate  
▪ 1600 Ton Mate  

Other requirements may include towing endorsements, ocean endorsements,
GMDSS and STCW 95.

Able Bodied Seaman, or Able Seaman The able seaman, or AB, carries out job
assignments given out by the captain or mate. This includes ship assist or barge
towing operations. May require STCW 95.

Deckhand The deckhand carries out job assignments given out by the captain or
mate. This includes ship assist or barge towing operations. May require STCW 95.

Chief Engineer The chief engineer, or chief, is in charge of the operation and
maintenance of a tugboat’s main engines, loading of fuel and cargo, auxiliary
machinery and engineering crew. In addition to the main engineers, the chief
engineer is responsible for diesel polishing systems, fuel service and transfer
systems, generator sets, electrical distribution system, hydraulic systems,
compressed air systems, sanitation systems, service water, heating and air
conditioning plant, watermaking unit and other auxiliaries. However, these are the
USCG license qualifications generally sought:

▪ Chief Engineer Limited
▪ Chief Engineer Unlimited

Designated Duty Engineer The designated duty engineer reports to the chief and
assists in the operation of engines, auxiliaries and other ship systems. However,
these are the USCG license qualifications generally sought:

▪ Designated Duty Engineer

Tankerman The tankerman carries out cargo loading and discharging operations,
spill response, and duties associated with tank entry.

QMED QMED, or qualified member of the engine department, carries out tasks
assigned by the chief or DDE in the engine department.

Other requirements may include STCW 95.

Cook, Chief Cook The cook prepares food for the crew and arranges for purchasing
of ship’s food stores

Steward, Chief Steward Depending on the vessel, the cook may be identified as

Trainee Entry level position for working one’s way up towards qualified deckhand

Some of the shoreside positions that arise include:

Port Engineer This is a shoreside position. The port engineer is responsible for the
maintenance of the tugboat fleet. He or she is expected to carry out necessary
diagnostic, trouble shooting, and preventive maintenance measures to ensure
proper operation and longevity of a tugboat’s most expensive mechanical asset, its
machinery. The ideal candidates are usually experienced diesel mechanics with
marine watchstanding experience. Some tug fleets will seek candidates who have
obtained factory certification for a particular powertrain, such as Caterpillars, General
Motors or EMD’s. In addition to marine diesel engines, the more a port engineer
knows about ship systems, the better he or she will be at carrying out the job. This
includes ship’s electrical systems, sanitation systems, compressed air, firefighting
and other auxiliaries. Basic computer skills will enhance abilities with spare parts
inventory, carrying out preventive maintenance timetable, maintaining oil analysis
results, and searching for trouble shooting resources on-line. Basic mathematical
skills are necessary in reading decimals and taking measurements.

Dispatcher This is a shoreside position. The dispatcher is responsible for
assigning tugboats to jobs. The dispatcher is needs to understand the logistics of
vessels traveling to and from a job, understands which tugs and crews are best
suited for which jobs, and current weather and tide conditions for the waters in which
the tugs operate. A dispatcher understands the strengths and limitations of all the
boats in the fleets, including their horsepower, crew experience, enhanced
maneuvering capabilities.

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Tugboat Job Descriptions

Bouchard Transportation
58 South Service Rd
Melville, New York, 11747

Brusco Tug & Barge
Columbia River
Longview, WA

Crowley Maritime
155 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
510 251 7500

Donjon Marine
1250 Liberty Avenue,
Hillside, New Jersey 07205

Foss Maritime Company
660 W. Ewing Street
Seattle, WA 98119

Great Lakes Group
4500 Division Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102-2228

K-Sea Transportation
3245 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10303

McAllister Towing
17 Battery Pl - Suite 1200
New York, New York 10004

Moran Towing
Corporate Office
50 Locust Avenue
New Canaan, CT 06840

Reinauer Transportation
1983 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10302

Roehrig Maritime L.L.C.
One School Street
Glen Cove, New York 11542

Stevens Towing
4170 Highway
Yonges Island, SC 29449

Vane Brothers Company
2100 Frankfurst Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21226

Although we didn't notice
employment pages at the
time we visited, these are
other companies that
operate tugs in the United

Island Tug and Barge
Campbell Maritime
Dana Tugs
Fremont Tugboat Company
Gaelic Towing
Maritime Jobs - Marine Jobs - Deckhands - Tankermen - Able Seaman - Maritime Jobs - Deck Engine - Employment in the Maritime
Industry - Work on Ships - Yachts - Tugboats - Cruise Ships
U.S. Department of Labor - These are contact
numbers for Dept of Labor Offices that maintain
regional employment, unemployment, wage

NEVADA - Carson City, NV - (775) 684-0387
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Concord, NH - (603)
NEW JERSEY - Trenton, NJ 08625 - 609 292-0099
NEW MEXICO - Albuquerque, NM - (505) 222-4683
NEW YORK - Albany, NY - (518) 457-6369
NORTH CAROLINA - Raleigh, NC - (919)
NORTH DAKOTA - Bismarck, ND - (701) 328-2868
OHIO - Columbus, OH - (614) 752-9494
OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma City, OK - (405) 557-7265
OREGON - Salem, OR - (503) 947-1212
PENNSYLVANIA - Harrisburg, PA - (717) 787-3266
PUERTO RICO Hato Rey, PR - (787) 754-5340
RHODE ISLAND - Cranston, RI - (401) 462-8767
SOUTH CAROLINA - Columbia, SC (803)
737-2660SOUTH DAKOTA - Aberdeen, SD - (605)
TENNESSEE - Nashville, TN - (615) 741-2284
TEXAS - Austin, TX -
UTAH - Salt Lake City, UT - (801) 526-9401
VERMONT - Montpelier, VT - (802) 828-4153
VIRGIN ISLANDS-Charlotte Aml, VI -340 776-3700
VIRGINIA - Richmond, VA - (804) 786-7496
WASHINGTON - Lacey, WA - (360) 438-4804
WEST VIRGINIA - Charleston, WV - (304)
WISCONSIN - Madison, WI - (608) 267-2393
WYOMING - Casper, WY - (307) 473-3807
U.S. Department of Labor - These are contact
numbers for Dept of Labor Offices that maintain
regional employment, unemployment, wage

ALASKA - Juneau, AK - (907) 465-4518
ARIZONA - Phoenix, AZ - (602) 542-3871
ARKANSAS - Little Rock, AR - (501) 682-4500
CALIFORNIA - Sacramento, CA - (916) 262-2160
COLORADO - Denver, CO - (303) 318-8898
CONNECTICUT - Wethersfield, CT - (860) 263-6255
DELAWARE - Wilmington, DE - (302) 761-8052
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - (202) 671-1633
FLORIDA - Tallahassee, FL - (850) 488-1048
GEORGIA - Atlanta, GA - (404) 232-3875
GUAM - Tamuning, GU - (671) 475-7062
HAWAII - Honolulu, HI - (808) 586-8996
IDAHO - Boise, ID - (800) 772-2553
ILLINOIS - Chicago, IL - (312) 793-2316
INDIANA - Indianapolis, IN - (317) 232-7460
IOWA - Des Moines, IA - (515) 281-0255
KANSAS - Topeka, KS - (785) 296-5058
KENTUCKY - Frankfort, KY - (502) 564-7976
LOUISIANA - Baton Rouge, LA - (225) 342-3141
MAINE - Augusta, ME - (207) 287-2271
MARYLAND - Baltimore, MD - (410) 767-2250
MASSACHUSETTS - Boston, MA - (617) 626-6556
MICHIGAN - Detroit, MI - (313) 456-3090
MINNESOTA - St. Paul, MN - (651) 282-2714
MISSISSIPPI - Jackson, MS - (601) 321-6261
MISSOURI - Jefferson City, MO - (573) 751-3609
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Jobs on Tugboats
Tugboat Companies