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(in water transportation), the transporting of a nonself-propelled vessel or other floating object (such as rafts, docks, or cranes) by a tugboat or, less frequently, by land-based means of transportation. Towing can be accomplished in a number of ways: by means of a towline, when the towing vessel pulls in its wake one or more objects either lined up one behind the other or joined at the sides to form a unit (sometimes these two arrangements are combined); or by mooring the towed object to the tugboat or, if the towed object is attached to the front of the towing boat, pushing it. In rivers with strong currents, the tugboat sometimes uses the following technique: it pulls through its winch a towline or chain that has been laid on the river bottom parallel to the ship’s movement. When the ship is moving close to the shore (mainly in canals), towing may be done by means of a locomotive or other means of transportation.
B. P. KHABUR and E. G. LOGVINOVICH