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Making and Breaking Tow

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Making and breaking tow-- it's routine, and yet if not done correctly, it's risky. Its both hands on and mechanical. It's standard operating procedure and unique to each captain, boat, and crew. And it requires constant attention to correct procedures to safety and to crew communication. Every situation is different. Every situation when you're doing these. And mother nature, of course, is a big one. And what location-- the location of where you're doing it and what the depth of the water is because you got to always be conscious of what the depth of the water is. And that's whether you're towing or just making up the tow. In this program, we'll introduce the basics necessary to successfully make and break a tow. Orientation and preparation, safe zones, on the barge, building the tow, tandem tows, getting underway, breaking the tow, and a summary and conclusion. Make sure you know your way around the deck and the function of the equipment and machinery you'll be using. The captain or chief mate may ask new crew members simply to watch and observe as orientation and preparation. If it's their first time to watch, because not knowing what they're doing and getting in somebody's way could cause a problem. So maybe the first time is to watch to see what's going on. To see how the time frame that you're working with. How fast it is and what order everything goes. It is common and often required to conduct a pre-job meeting that covers the roles and responsibilities of the people participating. Your company's safety management system, or health and safety plan, can guide you on how to conduct the pre-job meeting. Confirm the roles and responsibilities you've been assigned, the procedures to be followed, the safe zones and danger zones on deck, and your communications. Safety begins with each individual. The Personal Protective Equipment-- PPE-- is crucial to your own safety and that of your fellow crew members. PPE, as required by your company, should be done before you go on the deck and begin work. Because of the high tension connection between tug and barge and unexpected changes in wind and weather, you must be safety conscious at all times, especially making and breaking tow. This means a special awareness of the safety zones and danger zones afloat. Always work from the safe side of the wire opposite the direction of the force. Be aware the positions of the vessels and be conscious of where a wire suddenly pulled taut might go and where the danger might lie. The best place to stand is back closer to the tow winch. You get down to the stern of the boat and you have to go back there to work on it. But in between all that, you have everybody step back in case something does go wrong. If something does shift, then they're clear. Basically you've brought everything up between the pins on the stern so that everything can really only shift so far unless you really get into a bad way. But just that couple of feet, just that couple of feet with that chain over the stern like that. If it slides and hits somebody, it's all over. It's going to hurt them. Be aware of the bite of the line. And loop or coil could suddenly be pulled tight and cause severe injury. Stay aware of where you are, always working from the safe side of the wire and avoiding the bite. Also be aware of pinch points, a particular hazard when making and breaking tow. Those are points where a wire or a line touches another object. Use common sense and maintain situational awareness. Avoid crossing over and under wires where possible. There are important roles and responsibilities aboard the barge you're taking in tow. The first task is to pass the swede wire to the deck of the tug. Carefully undo the swede wire one coil at a time, checking for tension as each coil is removed. Keep the lines outboard and maintain your distance from the bit for your own safety. One end of the swede wire is passed to the deck of the tub for its connection to the work wire, or directly to the gypsy head. Once the swede wire is passed and has a strain, the crew begins to slowly and carefully take the turns of the safety line off the bit so they may control the tension as the pig tail is brought on board the tug. Once the barge is connected to the toe wire, the swede wire either follows the safety line or is stowed aboard the tug on the workwire drum. Building the tow requires an array of equipment. You must be familiar with all equipment involved and it's safe operations. You must also make certain of your communications of the chain of command for the operation ahead and the teamwork, roles, and responsibilities required to perform this operation efficiently and safely. At its most basic, building the tow requires connecting the tug via a towing bridal that is permanently attached to the barge. To begin the connection process, the swede wire is lowered from the barge and connected to either the workwire or lead directly to the gypsy head. Slack is taken up and the chain is drawn on the board onto the deck of the tug. Because this will involve tension on ropes and lines, keep the aft deck clear to avoid safety hazards and snap zones. The chain will be hauled aboard to a particular spot on deck for the rest of the hookup. Before the chain can be connected to the tow wire, it must be secured so the crew can make the connection safely. To make the chain secure, a safety strap or stopper wire is shackled through the chain and to the tug. The end is shackled to the deck of the tub, then passed through the chain behind a stud and then secured to the pelican hook. The pelican hook is a quick release device that locks the safety strap in place. Once the chain has been secured with a stopper wire or safety strap, the swede wire is slacked with the tension being taken up by the safety strap. At the end of the tow wire is the D socket that is connected to the pigtail using the tow shackle. On ocean tugs, a length of surge chain is sometimes connected between the end of the tow wire and the pigtail. A tow shackle is used to connect the pigtail to the tow wire. The shackle is placed on the D socket. Insert the pin into the shackle and tighten it with a nut. Then use a bolt or a cotter pin to prevent the nut from loosening during the tow. Use a cotter pin crimper to set the pin. Once the tow wire and chain are connected, remove the swede wire and safety line from the chain. Make sure no one approaches the connection until the tow winch operator has taken the load off the chain on to the tow wire, which will also ease the load on the safety strap. After the safety or stopper strap has been removed, the tow wire can be paid out. It must be paid out between the pins, and crew members should remain clear of the aft deck in the event the chain or tow moves unexpectedly. Once hookup is completed, the swede wire is then either returned to the barge or wrapped on the workwire drum and secured with a tag line. Stow all gear neatly, and check the tow wire alarm to make sure it's on. With the connection completed, you are ready to get under way. Occasionally, tugs will undertake a tandem tow-- two barges at once. Begin the procedure with a deck meeting that discusses the particulars of a tandem tow and identify the deck boss and other roles and responsibilities. The first barge hooked to the tug will become the back barge. Once hookup is completed, sufficient tow line is paid out to accommodate a second barge, which will be the lead large between the tug and the back barge. Some tugs do not have two tow wires, and will make up a tandem toe using an underrider-- typically a 600 to 800 foot wire pennant with a terminal socket at each end. The tug will make tow to the first barge as usual, except the barge pigtail will be shackled into the exposed outer socket of the underrider, not the tow wire. The tug breaks away from the first barge and begins to tow at a stern at slow speed. The underrider is slowly paid out until the inner socket is in a position to be safely strapped or shackled to the main tow wire. Once the first barges strung out to the underwriter's full length, the second barge is brought up by assist tugs to the stern of the tug, which will continue to pull slowly ahead to make sure the two barges don't make contact. The swede wire on the second barge is passed down to the tug crew, who then pull the pigtail on board, safety strap it, and then shackle be end length into the connecting shackle between the underrider and the main tow wire. Once the pigtail is shackled into the connecting shackle, the main tow wire is paid out to desired length. The lead barge must be kept in position directly behind the tug with it maintaining bare steerage and adequate separation between the barges. The captain or mate will direct the process of getting underway. The lines may be released in a different order depending on the wind and sea conditions and the amount of sea room. Always follow the direction of the captain in releasing the line. Like making a tow, each job breaking tow will have its own conditions and requirements. Once the tug is alongside the barge, one or two crew members will board the barge to receive the boat's lines and facilitate breaking tow. When the tug is secured to the barge, the tow wire is shortened to bring the tow shackle on board. The crew secures the strap to the death using a pelican hook. While the strain is maintained on the tow wire, connect the swede wire and the safety line with wire straps. The operator then backs off the tow winch until be safety stopper wire takes the strain off the tow shackle, lowering the tow shackle to the deck so it could be disconnected. Remove the bolts, cotter pins, and nuts from the shackle. Use a sledgehammer to drive the pin out of the shackle in one swift move. With the safety line and the swede wire secured to the bits on the barge, release the pelican hook on the safety wire. Stow and restore all gear for safety and readiness for your next tow. Maintain your situational awareness at all times and this risky, but routine procedure can be accomplished without error or injury. If you're unsure about a procedure or any condition on deck, communicate. Err on the side of caution and you'll help yourself and your fellow crew members. I always told the guys that if you see something, holler. Stop the operation because the mate doesn't always see everything. The captain doesn't always see everything. Because lots of times if you're pulling in the wire, the captain will be watching the sailor down on the work drum, or somebody will. So your eyes might be watching the guy making sure that if something happens, you stop pulling in the gear so you won't be looking back at the stern. So it's always the case of anybody, if you see anything, by all means make some noise and stop. Communicate among yourselves and the captain by way of orientation and preparation for each new operation. Be aware of safety zones, the proper places to stand, and danger zones to avoid. One or two crew members will work on the barge to hand swede wire and safety line down to the tug. Building the tow requires a range of equipment and a precise set of procedures with safety awareness at all times. Tandem tows with underriders requires special procedures and careful maneuvering. Getting underway will require close communication among the captain and the crew. And breaking the tow reverse the procedures used to make tow, shifting tension from tow line back to swede wire and safety line. Making and breaking tow should become a routine and polished procedure, but one that still requires constant vigilance, safety consciousness, and communication.

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 43 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 6
Posted by: maritimetraining on Apr 25, 2018

Making and Breaking Tow

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