Safety and Environment

Responsible Carrier Program

The industry-initiated Responsible Carrier Program is  a safety management system for tugboat, towboat and barge companies that provides a framework for continuously improving  company safety performance. AWO members of all sizes use the RCP to develop company-specific safety and environmental policies and programs tailored to the industry’s unique operational environments. The program complements and builds upon existing government regulations, requiring company safety standards that exceed those required by federal law or regulation. Since 2000, compliance with the RCP has been a condition of AWO membership.

The RCP incorporates best industry practices in three areas: company management policies, vessel equipment and human factors. The comprehensive program requires companies to undergoan audit by an independent third party-auditor to verify compliance. The RCP has been lauded by the U.S. Coast Guard and shipper organizations, and in 2012 was recognized in a Coast Guard report to Congress as a major factor in the dramatic decline of oil spills since the 1990s.

To advance the industry’s foundational commitment to safety, the RCP is constantly evolving. In 2012, AWO entered into  an agreement with the Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau, which trains and certifies  RCP auditors and develops resources to enhance the quality and consistency of RCP audits.