Towage regulations and details of service vary for different ports and the tugs/towage section on each individual port should be consulted.
Tugboats are at all times under the orders of the Master and/or Pilot and they may not abandon their service until so ordered, except in cases of emergency or danger. Ship’s lines are used, two each end, which should obviously be in good condition.
Should tugboats not be available when use of same is compulsory, a ship’s Master may on his own responsibility, enter or depart from port without use of tugs, taking due account of prevailing weather conditions.
It’s to be noted that, should prevailing circumstances dictate that assistance from tugs is not beneficial, lines may be made fast or let go at points or places other than those recommended by standing regulations. Main engines should be available at all time for use as required. Vessels under tow without the use of main engines incur a surcharge. Vessels fitted with bow or stern thrusters are, in certain circumstances and at certain ports, exempt from the use of one or both tugs.
At those ports where use of tugs is optional, the decision to make use of same, is to be taken by the Master, but should the assisting Pilot not be in agreement on this point and damages occur through not having used tugboats, then a statement to that effect is to be drawn up at the Coastguard office, upon completion of the pilotage.