Tugboats are often seen alongside barges, container ships helping to tow them in and out of the harbor, cleaning up an oil spill, hauling away oil or helping film crews working at sea. What many do not know about tugboat crew members, though, is how they often put their health and safety at risk by working long hours and handling such varied tasks.
One injury that deckhands on tugboats have to cautious of is getting their fingers caught underneath the line that they use to keep the boat steady or the winch line that they use to keep a firm grip on their loads. Once it's tied tight to the boat's bow or affixed to what they're towing, it becomes particularly rigid. There are instances when the pressure of these lines has severed deckhands' fingers.
Two other injuries that are all too common among tugboat operators are crush and capsize ones. Since the crew of these small water vessels are responsible for towing much larger and heavier boats, poor timing or a wrong turn can cause their cargo to overpower them, crushing them in the process. It can also capsize the tugboat. The crew can drown if they don't get out of the water in time.
Another all-too-common type of injury is a simple slip-and-fall. Oftentimes, a captain will receive a call to come tow a boat that they're unfamiliar with, to retrieve a crane or some other large vessel or equipment. There are many instances in which tugboat crew members slip-and-fall on decks or down stairs as they are moving around others' vessels trying to inspect them before securing them to their own for towing.
From slips-and-falls to tension line injuries, crush injuries to capsizing, these are just some injuries that crews on tugboats may suffer. While some injuries are minor, others are outright debilitating or deadly. A Louisiana attorney can let you know what options for compensation that you may be eligible to receive and how long you have to file a claim.