Daily life as a tug Chief Engineer?

Would like some insight as to the Daily routine of a Tug Chief Engineer. Thank you.


Always been interested in this part of the industry. I often wonder how many 30+ hour days a tug chief has to do on a rotation. Im lucky if I only do 3 a month.

I spent over ten Years of my career on a ATB running in the Gulf. If I was lucky enough to have a Good Assistant (which for the most part I did) life was pretty good. Also, I was very lucky to have a AB/T that enjoyed doing some repairs. usually, I would try to get up on the Barge at least once every trip across the Gulf to walk around as I had a Mate that liked to hide some stuff rather than just telling me so I could fix it before it really let go. Why in this day and age some people still play games is beyond me!

When I had a Good AE. I would let them take care of the E.R. which freed me up to take care of the barge. The Barge that we were married to had 5 cargo pump engines and two ballast pump engines, so there was always plenty to do up there. There were days where I had to have to cook watch the E.R. underway so I could get up on the barge to repair something so there would be no delay on cargo once we got to the dock.

As for hours worked. It seemed like I would get called out or have to continue repairs at least once a week. Also, it always seen that the more you were up for repairs, the more crap would happen. There were times where I would be up for 24+ hours in port for repairs only to have something let go once we got underway. Now, I am not going to tell you that I did not have any tours where everything went great and I just stood my watches. Now a days it seemed to me that I would spend more time doing Paperwork then doing repairs!

An old Captain put working on a Tug the best, It is Hours of Boredom Followed by Moments of Terror! One of the Chiefs that broke me in many years ago put it best when he said, I do not pay me for what I do everyday, but rather what I MIGHT Have to do One Day!