TUGS was created by the producers of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
The series dealt with the adventures of two anthromorphized tugboat fleets, the Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks, who compete against each other in the fictional Bigg City Port. It is set in the 1920s, during the booming business era of the Roaring Twenties.
Throughout the series, the two fleets primarily contest contracts to dock and tow larger sailing vessels and objects, including ocean liners, tramp steamers and schooners. Various other contractual obligations were also completed by the two fleets, including transportation of stone, munitions and logging fell. The series was considerably darker in tone than many other children's television programmes, with further plots involving crime, violence, and sabotagery. The characters' dialogue, too, was somewhat mature for a children's series, featuring slang and terminology not normally directed at children. Characters would often insult each other, as well as use historical and maritime terms.