If you work for a tugboat company, you know how dangerous the work can be. It can also be expensive work and rushed if there are a lot of boats that need towing. It's all too easy to cut a few corners for the sake of time or budget, but this is a bad idea -- safety needs to take priority over schedules and costs. If you are concerned about avoiding open water injuries, which can often be deadly, ensure that the following strategies are already in place. If they're not, you can try talking to the captain, or you can try to switch companies because forgetting these can have awful consequences.
From safety goggles to thick gloves to life jackets, you need to be dressed in safety equipment from head to toe. Slippery decks require shoes with excellent grip; windy days require thick gloves to grip ropes without causing burns on your skin. Goggles help keep water out of your eyes, and life jackets, of course, help if the worst happens and you're knocked overboard. You can even benefit from having a safety helmet to prevent concussions from being knocked down. If you are missing any of these items or other safety equipment, you need to talk to your captain immediately.
Inspections Before You Set Off
Tugboats undergo a lot of stress -- those tiny little boats have to tow and push large ships around. That means the ships can wear out very quickly. Before any trip, and preferably after each trip as well, you've got to inspect the ship. Ropes and cables, bumpers, locks, steering components, everything needs a visual once-over and quick test to ensure it's not going to break down in the open water.
Sticking to Shift Schedules
Working on a tug is exhausting. You cannot pull long shifts on these boats. Each boat should be adequately staffed to give everyone a substantial break each day, also breaks for sleep if on long trips. Tugboats don't always pull multi-day projects, but if the weather is bad enough to make the journey slow going, you can be on that boat for more than a day. You must have a way to take a break while the boat is still piloted safely.
If you see any of these being violated, you have to take action. If your captain won't help you, talk to a maritime lawyer familiar with open water and tugboat injuries. You don't want to be left trying to get compensation for injuries when you could have prevented the injuries in the first place.