Jargon & Lingo

This section is for those who occasionally read my posts and scratch their heads after certain words and phrases. I’ll occasionally add terms as I think of them, and comment if you have any that you think I should add.

Recency: Multiple pages can be written to describe this slang term. In short it refers to a tugboat Master or Mate’s ability to act as their own “Pilot” in certain Pilotage areas while moving an oil barge. For an in depth description see these posts, here, here on the Towmasters website.

Heads and Tails: The term used to describe towing a barge alongside stern first. This is the preferred way to move a light barge as the drag from the barges skegs give the tugboat operator something to steer against.

Hawser: Large diameter line used on a tug to tow a barge or other vessel astern. In the oil patch this is also the name often used for large offshore mooring lines.

Bridles: The two lengths of wire or line connected to the outboard end of a hawser and the tow. Forming a triangle off the bow of the tow they give the tug greater control over its tow.

Two Part: Describing a line where the eye and bitter end are made up on the same vessel. This allows for the line to be, if necessary, released from the vessel with out the need to flip an eye off or a crew member on the other vessel.

Push Gear: The lines or wires (or both) used to make up to a barge by pushing it. On many tugs with a tow winch the winch is used to tighten the push wires/lines.

Notch: An opening in the stern of a barge designed for a tugboats bow to fit into. This makes it easier to push the barge.

Tractor Tug: A tug featuring z-drive or Voith Schneider propulsion designed specifically for escorting or docking ships

Z-Drive: A propellor mounted on a drive that rotates 360 degrees, allows for thrust to be used to steer the vessel by pointing in any needed direction.

Voith Schneider Propellor: I’ll let wikipedia use pictures and lots of words for this one. Here

On the Hip: The term used for towing a barge alongside the tugboat.

DP: Stands for Dynamic Positioning, basically the use of a computer system with position reference systems and environmental sensors to control the vessels thrusters and allow it to hold station. There are different classes for DP vessels depending on how many levels of redundancy they have.

Konsgberg, MT, L3: Various types of DP systems I have worked with.

DPO: Dynamic Positioning Operator. Someone who is certified by the Nautical Institute in London to operate and monitor a DP system.

Topping Around: the act of turning a vessel around after coming off a dock or out of a slip.

Stern’d Up: Backing up to a platform or tying up to a dock by the stern. This is how you see most crew boats tied up.

Fourchon Shuffle: temporarily coming off the dock or shifting berths to allow other vessels to move around.

AB: Able Bodied Seaman, a deckhand of some experience. In the past this used to mean a deckhand probably knew what he was doing. With the introduction of the AB OSV and AB Special ratings that can be achieved quite quickly, 120 12 hours days for AB OSV, it has lost some of its meaning.

OS: Ordinary Seaman, the new guy.

Hand: Deckhand, see above

Mud: A fluid used in the drilling process to balance pressure in the hole, as well as lubricate the drill bit, and carry out drill cuttings.

Barite: A sand like material used to make drilling mud heavier and change its properties for different uses.

Mud Boat: An OSV that has tanks for liquid mud

Crew Boat: Now often called fast supply vessels, crew boats are aluminum workboats made for carrying lighter cargo and crew to and from rigs and platforms at higher speed. Anywhere from 135′ all the way up to 225′ long, and make speeds of 15 to 30 knots

OSV/PSV: The larger work horses of the oil and gas industry. Offshore/Platform Supply Vessels. Steel workboats that carry deck cargo, liquid mud, and dry bulk to offshore drilling and production platforms

TLP: Tension Leg Platform, a floating, permanently anchored deep-water production platform. See: Shenzi, Marco Polo, Thunderhorse, Marlin

Spar: Similar to a TLP, except with a cylindrical floating body. See: Neptune, Tahiti, Holstein

Cyscan: A laser based relative reference system used in conjunction with the DP system. Allows vessel to follow a moving target.

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