Industry Impact

Why Waterways are Vital to Our Economy

Did you ever think how about how gasoline travels to the pump, about how coal gets to the local power plant, or how agricultural products find their way to your dinner table and markets across the world? The U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry makes all of that – and much more – possible.

Click on the photos below to learn more about the industry’s contributions to safety and the environment, national security, and jobs and the economy.

Vessel Tour

The U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry is very diverse, operating on our rivers, on our coasts, and between our territories. Vessels move an abundance of essential commodities safety and efficiently and also play a critical role in assisting with the flow of commerce in our nation’s ports and harbors. To get a brief look at some of the many vessels that help move our economy, please take our interactive tour, below.
Begin Tour

Industry Career Opportunities

There are many opportunities to be a part of this dynamic industry, and our carrier members take great pride in playing their part to ensure the safe and efficient flow of the nation’s critical commerce.

The tugboat, towboat and barge industry offers many exciting employment opportunities working on the nation’s rivers and coasts. There are many vessel and shoreside careers with a good mix of highly skilled and entry-level positions. Most importantly, the industry provides competitive, family-wage careers.

Most people in the industry start as deckhands on inland vessels or as ordinary seamen on coastal vessels. With training and experience, most individuals can advance quickly and obtain the necessary licensing to serve as a master, mate, or pilot of a vessel. Tugboat and towboat crews are supported by shoreside staff which includes positions such as safety managers, port captains and engineers, and mechanics and dispatchers.