Safety & Sustainability

Safety & Sustainability

AWO members take safety seriously – the safety of our crews, the public, our vessels, and the waters upon which we operate. For the past 25 years, we have been engaged on a journey of continuous improvement, working with our shipper-customers and government partners to achieve the goal of zero harm to human life, to the environment, and to property as we transport the nation’s waterborne commerce.

The journey has been marked by strong private sector leadership, highlighted by the AWO Responsible Carrier Program and the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership. The RCP is a set of safety standards for tugboat, towboat and barge companies with which all AWO members must comply as a condition of association membership. The Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to improve safety and environmental protection and strengthen the working relationship between the Coast Guard and the industry.

The journey has also been distinguished by responsible public policymaking, from the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which transformed the oil transportation industry, to the U.S. Coast Guard’s June 2016 rule to establish an inspection regime for towing vessels at 46 CFR Subchapter M  and raise the bar of safety and environmental stewardship across the entire industry.

In October 2014, the AWO Board of Directors approved changes to the Responsible Carrier Program to ensure its acceptance by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) under Subchapter M. In June 2015, the Coast Guard confirmed its intent to accept the RCP as a TSMS based on its assessment that the RCP is substantively equivalent to the ISM Code and to the audit frequency required by Subchapter M. The Coast Guard commended the AWO Board of Directors and membership for their commitment to safety leadership and continuous improvement of the RCP. Now that Subchapter M has been published, AWO is working with the Coast Guard to identify any additional changes to the RCP needed to finalize its acceptance as a TSMS.

Mariner Credentialing and Medical Review

In addition to the many areas of safety and environmental leadership repesented on the left, AWO has also released recommended best practices to assist both companies and mariners in navigating the U.S. Coast Guard’s mariner credentialing and medical review process. AWO compiled the best practices based on feedback from industry members through its Working Group on Mariner Licensing and Medical Standards, as well as input from the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC). For company best practices, please click here. For mariner best practices, please click here.