from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Upright timbers projecting above the deck in the after part of a towboat, used for securing a tow-line.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
I observe that your motor-boat is fitted with towing-bitts.
They found themselves on the broad, flat, spoon-shaped after-deck occupied by the strong towing-bitts and coils of cable.
While this was being done, the boat plied back and forth between the two vessels, passing a heavy hawser, which was made fast to the great towing-bitts on the schooner's forecastle-head.
The Brutus had stopped towing in response to the signal gun of the Southern Cross in time to prevent the towing-bitts being rooted out bodily or the cable parting.