Engaging with tugs must always be considered as a high risk area of work and as such the following points would go some way to making the task as safe as possible:
(a) Clarify beforehand the method of engagement as to whether the tugs line is to be used or the ship’s line and which ‘lead’ is intended.
(b) All persons involved in the operation should be adequately kitted out in protective clothing and briefed as to the nature of the activities involved.
(c) Adequate communications, tested beforehand, should be available between towing stations to the bridge and the towing vessel if appropriate.
(d) If the tugs line is to be used, this should be inspected to be free of defects and be seen to be of adequate strength.
(e) Throughout the operation all personnel should be advised to keep clear of bights in wires/ropes.
(f) The eye of the towline should not be placed on the ‘bitts’ but the wire should be set in a figure ‘8’, turns, around the bollards. The top turns should be lightly lashed to prevent accidentally jumping off.
(g) Non-essential personnel should be kept well clear of towlines and the towing area.