Plymouth’s tugs are an indispensable part of supporting the naval and cargo ships through the channels of the Sound, and provide other day-to-day duties.

Plymouth tugs escorting the Dutch vessel HNLMS Johan de Witt into Devonport

Many people ask on our website what is a tug and how the vessels work?

Tugs are vessels designed to manoeuvre other ships by pulling or pushing them – and a regular sight on our thousands of images and live webcam streaming.

Some tugs are designed for search and rescue operations, and others are adapted to act as icebreakers.

With Green Shipping – electric tugs are being used across the globe.

We’ve been lucky to see many training activities in the sound of professionals guiding cargo vessels, naval, and Brittany Ferries into Millbay Docks.

In general, there are two types of tugs from escort to support boats that includes:

Ice breaking tugs 


Search and Rescue

Firefighting tugs in Ports 

Anchor handling 

Ocean Towage


Line Handling

Survey and Research 


Crew Boats

Plymouth tug guiding the Ocean Majesty Cruise Ship into Millbay Docks

As people can see daily on our live 24-hour webcam in the Sound the tugs are a vital component of the city’s maritime sector.

Without the professional teams that work them – many ships of different sizes from naval, general cargo, leisure and cruise, would find it impossible to navigate the Sound’s specific stretches of waterways.