The term "towboat" is generally used to
describe a vessel used to handle towing tasks on inland waterways.
A TOWBOAT has a squared-off bow with pushing knees, a hull that
is flat-bottomed until the stern where it rises to allow room
for one or more screws. The tips of these are in tunnels and may
be at or just above the water's surface. The superstructure is
generally a simple stack of boxes of various sizes, perhaps with
some streamlining added for looks. Freeboard is minimal and doors
are not watertight. There are no bulwarks. (There is, however,
a modified type of towboat sometimes known as a Cajun boat that
is designed for use on the InterCoastal Waterways and moderately
open waters that has high doorway thresholds and some form of
In the early years of river towing, some tows were
handled astern, and thus the terminology "towboat" was
developed. However as the size of the towboats and tows increased,
most tows were handled by pushing them in order to allow for better
control and tighter turning in restricted areas. The more modern
terminology "pushboat" tends to be used interchangeably
with "towboat" and in many ways is a better description
of the function of these vessels.
Photo Above: Launching of Sunflower,
a typical large towboat for inland river service.
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shipyards, and equipment manufacturers and will try to use them