There are container ships, tankers, tugboats and more, so just what is a towboat? Here is a photo with a very basic explanation.
This photo shows a ‘boat’ pushing a ‘tow’ of ‘barges’. These are covered barges, maybe carrying grain or other cargo being protected from the weather. This might be a typical “load” found on the Lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Cairo, Illinois where the water is nice and wide. On the more narrow upper rivers the tows are not able to be as wide.
As seen below, they carry a lot of cargo!