Are there any left? I know a lot of modern rig tows are done on synthetic bridles and pigtail connected to a nylon stretcher for shock absorption then the wire rope tow wire. That way they don’t need chain surge gear.
There are still a lot of hawser boats around, but they rarely put the hawser out - mostly harbor boats. There are still a few old boats that routinely tow on the hawser.
In the Gulf (and on some of the East Coast), tugs typically use wire bridles, a wire pendant and a doubled up braided nylon “snatch line” or “shock hawser” that’s less than the length of the deck between the winch and the stern. The snatch line is shackled in between the tow wire and the wire pendant.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen a rig tow, that I don’t remember how the gear was rigged up; it’s probably changed anyway.
I worked 10" to 12"nylon hawsers very early in my career in the 70’s as an AB, OS,and Mate and flaked many a hawser… Although nostalgic, I don’t miss that kinda work. It appears Tugsailor has been there and knows his shit to advise run… don’t walk from that type of operation…