Reason tug boats spray water into the air when towing ship has left people shocked

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Updated 15:51 7 Jun 2024 GMT+1Published 15:44 7 Jun 2024 GMT+1

It's a pretty majestic spectacle from the small but mighty boats

Ok, sure, the idea of a tugboat isn’t particularly exciting – they’re simply just vessels that help move other boats. They’re not exactly the main character.

But, you can’t deny that seeing them spray a load of water into the air as they pass by isn’t at least a little bit exciting. And the reason why they do it has left people shocked.

When a watercraft runs into a spot of trouble while in the likes of a narrow canal or a busy harbour, a tugboat often comes to the rescue.

The small but mighty tugs also double up as salvage boats and ‘ice breaks’ as well as carrying a load of emergency equipment to help the crew on board if things go wrong.

Oh, and they can navigate other ships in and out of port while also moving barges and rigs. So basically, they’re pretty important vessels. And still, it’s the reason why they spray water into the air while towing a ship that shocks people.

A clip of a tugboat leading the way for a huge cargo ship while blasting out water previously went viral on X as users discovered the reason behind the flamboyant display.

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Known as a 'water salute', it is a way for tugboats to either welcome or bid farewell to whichever large vessel is moving in or out of port - which surprised a few viewers.

One social media user said: "I never knew this was a thing."

Now that's majestic. (Getty stock)

As another joked: "You have to water the ocean so that it grows!" while a third added: "Finally, an answer that makes sense."

A fourth wrote: "Same thing is done for planes too, but with fire trucks."

While a fifth chimed in: "What a waste of water!" Although, you’ve got to hope that is sarcastic as surely the water isn’t exactly going anywhere else but into more water.

The spectacle is a bit of sign of respect in the maritime world, mainly happening on rare occurrences and is purely ceremonial.

The tradition, which also takes place when an aircraft lands, is believed to have originated in the US in the 50s and would be performed when military ships and planes departed or arrived.

It's a tradition. (Getty stock photo)It's a tradition. (Getty stock photo)

The water spray is most often used nowadays to commemorate the first voyage of vessels or the first flight of a new airliner, while organisers sometimes even add a dash of colour to the water to really make it stand out.

One X user also pointed out showering water everywhere helps to 'keep the bilges of the boats clean'.

Plus, it also helps wash away debris from the deck, cool the tugboats engines and increases stability.

It can also act as a means of communication to the ship it is towing or could even be used as a distress signal to alert others the tug is in danger.

Well, salute to the mighty tugboat.

Featured Image Credit: X / Getty Stock Image

Topics: World News

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