Some ships have a tractor beam that enables them to tow other ships or pods.
In order to tow another ship or a pod, it has to be set as Tow Target () (using Ship Command - Overview, Ship Command - Nav, or the Toolbar).
 Tow capacity
The tractor beam value of a ship describes the maximum mass it can tow.
- The tractor beam value must be equal or higher than the targetted ship hull mass (cargo,parts and docked objects are not relevant).
- The tractor beam value must be equal or higher than the targetted pod mass (fully loaded Assault, life, native, Construction, gold, resupply and Ore pods are 1000 mass. Outfit, wreckage,Dust-Off and overcharged AI Life pods could be higher than 1000 mass).
- A tractor beam value of 0 means that the hull doesn't have a tractor beam installed and thus cannot establish a tractor beam on a target even if its mass is 0.
- Ships with more than 25% hull damage cannot initiate a tow. They have their full tow power in contests (when being target of a tow). (Host 213)
- Ships with more than 25% engine damage cannot initiate a tow. They have their full tow power in contests (when being target of a tow). (Host 213)
- Ships cannot tow a target that they do not have at least a “contact” level scan of. (Host 213.43)
- Wings, planets, ground bases, buoys, jump gates, and worm holes can not be towed.
- Some hulls have a Gravitational Stabilizer, which prevents the use of tow against them. They cannot move or be moved at all. See Binary Class Star Port, Solar Collection Array, and Solar Ragnarock Device.
 Tow Range
- You can initiate towing with an object that is up to the result of the formula below in ly.
- Tow Range = <ship speed> / 200 * 5, minimum of 5
- You may set a tow target at any range, but only when you come within range will the tow contest occur and a tractor beam be established.
 Tow contest
If two or more ships try to tow a ship/pod at the same time, or the targetted ship tries to escape the tow (speed set to >0), the ship with the higher tow power will win the tow contest. If two ships compete over the same target, the loser of the contest will not attempt to tow the target again during the turn.
V = the maximum speed of the hull (See Raceview2)* E = the energy output of the engine Tow power = ( ( V * 2 ) + E ) * engine_count * ( ( 100 - engine_damage ) / 100 )
*Note: The maximum speed of the engines has no influence on the tow power.
- Ships with speed = 0 have a tow power of 0.
- Ships with 1 crew have a tow power of 0.
- Ships with 0 crew have a tow power of -1. (Host 213g)
- Ships with 1 fuel have a tow power of 0.
- Ships with 0 fuel have a tow power of -1. (Host 213g)
- Ships with more than 50% system damage have a tow power of -1. (Host 213g)
- Hulls with a max hull speed of 300+ have a tow power of 0. From Tim: "Ships that are that fast are required to give up the power of tow as a general rule."
- A tractored ship will move with the tractoring ship. Its own movement is disabled.
- When a ship successfully tows a target, they get a “detect” level scan of it automatically. (Host 213.43)
- When a tractor beam has been established on a target, that target's sensors go offline, thus giving them a scan range of 0.
- When a tractor beam has been established on a ship (or wing from a Spindizzy), its movement orders are ignored until the tractor beam is broken, which can occur through damage to the tractoring ship or the end of the turn has been reached. A tractor beam established on a pod will stop its movement forever, since pods are propelled.
- Once a tractor beam broken, the original movement orders (for ships or wings) will be resumed. The movement of the towing ship is tracked so that if the ship or wing under tow had waypoints set and the towing ship satisfied the waypoint conditions then those waypoints will be processed normally. This will likely only occur in friendly tractor beam actions. At least this will prevent the tractored ship or wing from having to replay its waypoints once released.
- The tow is broken, if either the towing ship or the ship being towed makes a Hyperjump, that is unless both ships are performing a hyperjump to the same location (x,y coordinates) and are jumping at the same time.
- You may hyp to the location of your tow target and establish a tractor beam on the target after a successful tow contest.
- Care must be taken when attempting to tow with a fast hyperjumping ship (Falcon Class or Meteor Class Blockade Runner) because it's easy to forget to turn off the hyperdrive and jump away at the start of movement, leaving the ship being towed behind.
 See also
- Spindizzy The Spindizzy device of the IMT functions like a tow, but breaks most of the towing rules.
- Is tow disabled if transportes are used? (from the newsgroup) No
- Can you tow from 2 ly or more ? Yes, see above formula
- Having a speed greater 0 set on the target ship prevents it from being towed. Right? Yes. Does it need a waypoint set? No
- Does a ship try to break free from being towed,if his speed is set to zero, but it has another waypoint set (or a different escort,intercept target), than the ship trying to tow it? And thus triggers a tow contest? No