King's Harbour Master Clyde


1. Mariners are advised that the Queen’s Harbour Master Clyde has made the following General Direction under the Clyde Dockyard Port of Gareloch and Loch Long Order 2011, and in compliance with the provisions of the Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).


2. To ensure towage guidelines are developed for safe operations involving the use of tugs for escorting, berthing, sailing and cold moving within the Dockyard Ports and other areas under the direction of QHM.

3. The Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) requires that towage guidelines are developed on an objective assessment of safety and take into account the conditions normally prevailing in the port together with the additional constraints incurred by being a nuclear authorised site. The manoeuvring characteristics, cargo and design criteria of the vessels using the port will also be taken into consideration. The Master/CO of any vessel requiring the assistance of tugs must report to QHM any defect that could compromise the safety of the operation.   


4. There are a range of tugs within the military areas of the port which are provided by the prime Marine Services Contractor (currently Serco Marine Services) under a 15-year PFI contract. Other commercial contractors undertake towage operations at the commercial facilities within the port and occasionally as a replacement/addition to Marine Services tugs.

5. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the Marine Safety Management System developed for the port and the specific towage guidelines for certain berths where risk assessment has indicated they should have specific plans and more general guidelines than for other berths.

6. All towage operations and manoeuvres must be conducted in a safe and seamanlike manner.  It is the duty of the Master and Pilot to ensure that the vessel is handled in a safe and controlled manner and having due regard to the safety of all involved.  If at any time a Tug Master is requested to carry out a manoeuvre which he considers will result in a hazardous situation, he may decline the order clearly stating why.

7. To promote good practice, Tug Masters are encouraged to embark with Pilots during towing operations at intervals of not greater than 36 months; similarly, Admiralty Pilots are encouraged to embark on the tugs during port moves.

8. It is understood that because of the considerable variation in vessel type/hull and superstructure form (including nuclear submarines), condition and manoeuvrability the customary tug allocation may be varied following appropriate consultation. In determining the towage requirements of any specific vessel, the following factors shall be amongst those taken into account; 

a. The type of vessel, dimensions, draught, trim, any hazardous cargo, manoeuvring characteristics (inc. propulsion type and manoeuvring aids), type of steering, propeller, propulsor and windage.

b. Weather conditions; visibility, wind strenght and direction.

c. The type of tugs available (including but not limited to propulsion type and bollard pull).

d. The training qualifications and experience of the tug crews for the relevant move.

e. The minimum UKC likely to be experienced during the transit from the Pilot Station to the berth or vice versa inc. any allowance for visibility /weather / sea / swell conditions, traffic density and vessel handling.

f. The tidal range and stream during the transit inc. any expected variations due to prevailing weather conditions.

g. Any defects reported by the vessel / vessel’s agent.

h. Any restrictions and harbour operations in force within the port area which may impact upon vessel operations.

9. This General Direction will be reviewed by 10 Jan 22.

Queen's Harbour Master

Renown Building

HM Naval Base, Clyde.

Tuesday 12 Jan 2021

Queen's Harbour Master