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TB 55-1900-232-10
This chapter discusses towing procedures in general terms; however, each tow must be regarded as unique. The
planning, preparation and execution have to be carefully worked out for each tow In this regard, the tow preparations
must be meticulous, uncompromising and far-sighted. Fleet Admiral Nimitz provided a valuable guide for any ship
operation when he said:
'"The time for taking all measures for a ship's safety is while still able to do so. Nothing is more dangerous than for a
seaman to be grudging in taking precautions lest they turn out to be unnecessary. Safety at sea for two thousand years
has depended on exactly the opposite philosophy"
Tows have been damaged and lost by inattention to these basic principles. In preparing a tow, all of the things that may
cause trouble must be considered. This approach involves anticipating and providing for worst-case problems.
Incidents involving loss of tows have demonstrated the absolute necessity for a thoroughly professional approach to
towing. Requirements include training personnel, practicing basic procedures and planning for safe evolutions.
This chapter discusses the following-
a Pre-tow preparations
b. Getting underway with a tow
c Taking a tow at sea
d. Ship handling while towing
e. Inspection of tow during transit
f. Delivery of tow
g Special circumstances and emergencies in towing
h. Communications between ships
i. Towing NATO naval ships.
The command or activity (hereafter referred to as "sponsor" or "sponsoring command") requiring a tow is responsible for
arranging for it. The command or activity with cognizance of the towed vessel at the point of departure is responsible for
the towed vessel's proper preparation for sea: providing and assembling towing gear, lights, flooding alarms and riding
crew, if any.
The required check-off list for ocean tows must be completed by a representative of the activity preparing the tow
Confirmation of applicability of various sections of this check-off list is required by the towing ship's Commanding Officer
prior to the accepting the tow. This can be accomplished at a pre-tow conference with all parties concerned present, or
by letter, telephone call or message. Upon accepting the tow, the Commanding Officer of the towing ship should
acknowledge acceptance by letter or message. A representative of the receiving activity should acknowledge receipt of
the tow by letter. The check-off list and required letters are presented in Appendix H.
3-2-2. SPONSORING COMMAND. The command sponsoring the tow is responsible for the following:
a. Review of the applicable type commander and Fleet CINC numbered instructions and operational orders
b. Preparation of the tow
c. Assembly of the towing rig


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