Barge Boats - Tow Boats - Canal Boats
 
 

Barge Boats - Towboat - Canal Boats

Canal Boats

A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats.

Canal barges, towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath, contended with the railway in the early industrial revolution, but were outcompeted in the carriage of high-value items due to the higher speed, falling costs, and route flexibility of rail.

  On the Great British canal system, the term 'barge' is used to describe a boat wider than a narrowboat, and the people who move barges are often known as lightermen. In the United States, deckhands perform the labor and are supervised by a leadman or the mate.

Towboats

A towboat is a boat designed for pushing barges or car floats. Towboats are characterized by a square bow with steel knees for pushing and powerful engines.

They are most often seen on inland waterways and western rivers where they can push more than 50 large barges lashed together into a tow of varying shapes and sizes.

Towboats that travel long distances (linehaul) include living quarters for the crew. Outside of the USA towboats are usually referred to as "push boats" or "pushers".

The captain and pilot steer the towboat, which pushes one or more barges held together with rigging, collectively called 'the tow'.
The crew live aboard the towboat as it travels along the inland river system or the intracoastal waterways. These towboats travel between ports and are also called line-haul boats.

Poles are used on barges to fend off the barge as it nears other vessels or a wharf. These are often called 'pike poles'. On shallow canals in the United Kingdom, long punt poles are used to maneuver or propel the barge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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Barge Boats  - Towboat  - Canal Boats