Safety Leadership

Responsible Carrier Program

*** Technical Regulatory Amendments to the RCP Effective July 1, 2020 ***

On May 20, 2020, the AWO Board of Directors unanimously approved two technical revisions to the AWO Responsible Carrier Program to ensure consistency with current regulatory requirements. These changes are effective July 1, 2020.

The first revision adds Subchapter M’s Health and Safety Plan requirements at 46 CFR 140 Subpart E, which became effective July 22, 2019, to the RCP. This includes general health and safety requirements nearly identical to those in the current RCP.

The second revision ensures the RCP’s radar refresher training requirement in Section K.1.a mirrors existing regulation in 46 CFR Parts 10, 11, and 15, which exempts certain mariners from the requirement to complete a Coast Guard-approved or accepted radar refresher or recertification course in order to renew their radar observer endorsements.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the AWO Safety Department.

The 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 their unique operations. 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 program requires companies to undergo an 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.
The RCP was accepted by the Coast Guard as an existing safety management system that meets the TSMS requirements of Subchapter M in 2016, facilitating AWO members’ compliance with the towing vessel inspection regulations.
Click here to view the AWO-recognized third-party audit partners who are authorized to provide auditing services related to the Responsible Carrier Program®. AWO’s goal is to provide members with a large, geographically dispersed pool of well trained, well qualified auditors to conduct RCP and TSMS audits to facilitate the
implementation of Subchapter M.