Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tugboat vs. towboat

Regular Ohio River Blog reader Granny Sue asks this question: "This is a stupid question so please forgive me: what's the difference between a tugboat and a towboat, and how would I be able to tell the difference when I see them?"

I dealt with this a lot when I worked for the Huntington newspaper. It aggravated me that no matter how many times I said there are few if any tugboats on the Ohio River, people never listened and kept referring to tugboats.

Here is what I told my coworkers: A tugboat has a V-shaped hull and is built for use on open, deep water. A towboat has a flat hull and is made to operate in the relatively shallow waters of the inland rivers. A towboat has two tow knees at the front for pushing barges. A tugboat usually has windows and doors with rounded corners. As a rule of thumb, if you see it on the Ohio River, it's a towboat.

Now, I let the pros give their answers.