A Tugboat is any relatively small but powerful vessel usually designed to tow or shunt ocean-going ships in and out of harbours or other constricted areas. Tugs have also been designed to tow disabled vessels on the high seas, help in salvage work or to be used with dredging equipment. As one example, a tugboat was used to move a 300-tonne section of boardwalk that was broken off by a flood. They are notable for their "padding", their enormous power to weight ratio, having engines of far greater “pull” than their size would indicate; and the pronounced overhang of their counter to minimize the risk of a broken or loose hawser fouling the propeller.
Tugs were amongst the first steam driven water-craft; the paddle-driven “Lady Charlotte” was built in 1802, and the first steam-powered vessels acquired by the Royal Navy were a pair of tugs in 1822. Screws (propellers) began replacing paddles during the middle of the 19th century, and diesel had replaced steam by the early years of the twentieth.
- Dunlevy, G; "Queensland floods: Tug boat driver hailed a hero"; News.com.au; January 13, 2011; http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/floodrelief/queensland-floods-tug-boat-driver-hailed-a-hero/story-fn7ik2te-1225987244093