33 CFR 164.74 - Towline and terminal gear for towing astern.
(a)Towline. The owner, master, or operator of each vessel towing astern shall ensure that the strength of each towline is adequate for its intended service, considering at least the following factors:
(1) The size and material of each towline must be -
(i) Appropriate for the horsepower or bollard pull of the vessel;
(ii) Appropriate for the static loads and dynamic loads expected during the intended service;
(iii) Appropriate for the sea conditions expected during the intended service;
(iv) Appropriate for exposure to the marine environment and to any chemicals used or carried on board the vessel;
(v) Appropriate for the temperatures of normal stowage and service on board the vessel;
(vi) Compatible with associated navigational-safety equipment; and
(vii) Appropriate for the likelihood of mechanical damage.
(2) Each towline as rigged must be -
(i) Free of knots;
(ii) Spliced with a thimble, or have a poured socket at its end; and
(iii) Free of wire clips except for temporary repair, for which the towline must have a thimble and either five wire clips or as many wire clips as the manufacturer specifies for the nominal diameter and construction of the towline, whichever is more.
(3) The condition of each towline must be monitored through the -
(i) Keeping on board the towing vessel or in company files of a record of the towline's initial minimum breaking strength as determined by the manufacturer, by a classification (“class”) society authorized in § 157.04 of this chapter, or by a tensile test that meets API Specification 9A, Specification for Wire Rope, Section 3; ASTM D 4268 (incorporated by reference, see § 164.03), Standard Test Method for Testing Fiber Ropes; or Cordage Institute CIA 3, Standard Test Methods for Fiber Rope Including Standard Terminations;
(ii) If the towline is purchased from another owner, master, or operator of a vessel with the intent to use it as a towline or if it is retested for any reason, keeping on board the towing vessel or in company files of a record of each retest of the towline's minimum breaking strength as determined by a class society authorized in § 157.04 of this chapter or by a tensile test that meets API Specification 9A, Section 3; ASTM D 4268 (incorporated by reference, see § 164.03) or Cordage Institute CIA 3, Standard Test Methods;
(iii) Conducting visual inspections of the towline in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, or at least monthly, and whenever the serviceability of the towline is in doubt (the inspections being conducted by the owner, master, or operator, or by a person on whom the owner, master, or operator confers the responsibility to take corrective measures appropriate for the use of the towline);
(iv) Evaluating the serviceability of the whole towline or any part of the towline, and removing the whole or part from service either as recommended by the manufacturer or a class society authorized in § 157.04 of this chapter or in accordance with a replacement schedule developed by the owner, master, or operator that accounts for at least the -
(A) Nautical miles on, or time in service of, the towline;
(B) Operating conditions experienced by the towline;
(C) History of loading of the towline;
(D) Surface condition, including corrosion and discoloration, of the towline;
(E) Amount of visible damage to the towline;
(F) Amount of material deterioration indicated by measurements of diameter and, if applicable, measurements of lay extension of the towline; and
(v) Keeping on board the towing vessel or in company files of a record of the material condition of the towline when inspected under paragraphs (a)(3)(iii) and (iv) of this section. Once this record lapses for three months or more, except when a vessel is laid up or out of service or has not deployed its towline, the owner, master, or operator shall retest the towline or remove it from service.
(2) Each connection is secured by at least one nut with at least one cotter pin or other means of preventing its failure;
(4) There is provided a method, whether mechanical or non-mechanical, that does not endanger operating personnel but that easily releases the towline;
(5) The towline is protected from abrasion or chafing by chafing gear, lagging, or other means;
(7) If a winch is fitted, there is attached to the main drum a brake that has holding power appropriate for the horsepower or bollard pull of the vessel and can be operated without power to the winch.