AWO Letter - February 13, 2024

AWO Joins WCI Fly-In on Capitol Hill. AWO teamed up with Waterways Council, Inc. on Capitol Hill last week to support the 2024 WCI Fly-In. AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter and Vice President - Legislative Affairs Craig Montesano led teams that met with House and Senate staff to advance industry requests for the Water Resources Development Act and the FY24 and FY25 annual appropriations process and discuss the importance of maintaining 100 percent federal funding for the inland waterways projects included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Team members also highlighted the importance of enacting an energy and water appropriations bill for the current fiscal year and continuing that process through FY25 to prevent cost increases from impacting completion of critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. Combined efforts like this enhance our industry’s visibility on Capitol Hill and keep our policy priorities high on the to-do lists of lawmakers. For more information, please contact Craig Montesano at or 703-841-9300, ext 297.
MARAD to Host Mariner Work-Life Balance Symposium. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) invite the maritime industry to participate in a symposium on April 16 featuring leaders from government, industry and academia, experienced and prospective mariners, and others to discuss issues related to work-life balance and recommendations for improvement. Topics will include career progression, training, reasons mariners leave the profession, lifestyle aboard vessels, and mariner mental health. In-person and virtual options will be available for the panel discussions, but breakout sessions will be held in-person only at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Event registration opens February 15. For more information, contact
CA Assemblymember Raises Safety Concerns about CARB Rule in New Op-Ed. In a new op-ed for the Orange County Register, California Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains warns that the California Air Resources Board harbor craft emissions rule poses a serious risk to mariner safety. “We owe it to California’s mariners and coastal communities to ensure that companies are not forced to use engine technology that puts lives at risk," she emphasized.
Sustainability Tech Working Group Update. The AWO Sustainability Tech Working Group held its first meeting of 2024, featuring guest speakers Paul Moynihan with PJM Consulting and Ed Carr with Energy and Environmental Research Associates. Mr. Moynihan shared his insights on federal grants available to the maritime industry and how to use those grants to fund sustainability projects. Mr. Carr briefed the group on vessel emissions tracking projects that his company is developing for the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance program. Additional discussion topics included supporting an industry call for the Department of Energy to launch a Sustainable Maritime Fuel Challenge, services to help vessel operators track fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and more. The working group meets every two months and the next meeting is scheduled for late March. If you or someone in your organization would like to join the working group, please email Bradley Trammell.
Carpenter Interviews DCA President on American Maritime Podcast. AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter hosted Dredging Contractors of America President and CEO Bill Doyle on the latest episode of the American Maritime Podcast, discussing the importance of dredging to the U.S. economy and supply chain, how the Jones Act and Foreign Dredge Act work together to ensure a reliable flow of commerce, and more.
TVIB Announces Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award. The Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau (TVIB) recently announced the new Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award, honoring namesake former TVIB chairman and river industry veteran Mike Rushing, who passed away in 2023. The award will honor individuals who demonstrate the key values of “community service, professional excellence, and active and engaged mentorship,” all of which were hallmarks of Captain Rushing’s exemplary life. Applications are due March 15 and are open to anyone in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry or the U.S. Coast Guard.
AWO PAC Corner
AWO PAC and Inside Elections. AWO PAC has partnered with Inside Elections for another special edition, featuring an overview of each Senate race.
AWO PAC is the connected political action committee for The American Waterways Operators and serves as the trade association’s separate segregated fund. As a trade association, AWO is prohibited from using general treasury funds or membership dues to make federal contributions. AWO is one of the most effective advocacy associations in Washington, DC, and relies on voluntary personal contributions to fund AWO PAC.

AWO PAC supports federal candidates who are champions of the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry and who are leaders on issues important to our industry. AWO PAC is dedicated to protecting AWO members’ investments in the safest, most environmentally responsible and most economical mode of freight transportation and safeguarding the integrity of the Jones Act to protect the bottom lines of our members. AWO PAC may solicit contributions from individuals of a member company once the member representative gives AWO written prior approval.

Chemical Transportation Safety Advisory Committee Meets. The National Chemical Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (NCTSAC) and its subcommittees met on January 30-31. NCTSAC is a Congressionally-authorized committee that advises the Coast Guard on matters relating to the safe and secure marine transportation of hazardous materials. The meetings covered a variety of issues, including updating best practices for hazardous materials transportation, standing up new working groups to review existing standards, and using a risk-based approach for examinations of foreign-flag tank vessels. For questions, please reach out to Leah Harnish.
Join American Maritime Voices to Help Support the Jones Act. Having a strong, nationwide network of domestic maritime industry supporters is critical to growing support for the Jones Act and defeating attempts to weaken or repeal it. To grow this grassroots network, AWO and other maritime organizations partnered to create American Maritime Voices. American Maritime Voices aims to educate supporters about the maritime industry and developments in Congress and across the nation.
Help grow this network of Jones Act support! Check out the latest edition of The Voice newsletter, and join American Maritime Voices for free here.
AWO Participates in Washington Maritime Day. On February 1, AWO members and staff joined other maritime stakeholders in Olympia, Washington for the annual Maritime Day advocacy event. AWO staff and members from Foss Maritime Company, Elliott Bay Design Group, Tidewater Barge Lines, and the Vane Brothers Company participated, visiting key state lawmakers and staff to discuss industry priorities. Twenty-five lawmakers attended the evening reception to cap off the annual event, organized by the Washington Maritime Federation. AWO is a founding member of the Federation, which brings together associations, businesses and other stakeholders to support Washington state’s $46 billion marine economy.
Coast Guard Developing Atlantic Coast Fairways PEIS. The Coast Guard has issued a notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential consequences of establishing safety fairways off the Atlantic Coast. An integral part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process, the PEIS will examine alternatives for establishing the various fairways proposed in the Atlantic Coast Fairways Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Public Meetings will be held in Norfolk, VA on February 12 and virtually on February 15. The Coast Guard will accept comments on the notice until March 8.
AWO Chairman to Keynote at Marine Log Tugs, Towboats and Barges Conference. AWO Chairman Rick Iuliucci, Vice President of the Vane Brothers Company, will be the keynote speaker at Marine Log’s Tugs, Towboats and Barges conference in Mobile, AL, March 6-7, where he will discuss sustainability in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry. Learn more and register online.
Join the AWO Team – Now Hiring a Southern Region Representative. AWO is hiring a new Southern Region Representative. The Southern Region Representative is the principal ambassador to AWO members and external stakeholders in the Southern Region, charged with building and maintaining close working relationships with AWO members, Coast Guard officials, federal and state government officials and coalition partners; leading industry advocacy initiatives in the region; and communicating proactively and effectively with members and external stakeholders.
For more information on the role’s responsibilities and qualifications, click here. To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to
Join Us for the Annual Regional Meetings. Please join us for the upcoming Annual Meetings of the AWO regions! All AWO members are welcome to attend any of the meetings, regardless of geographic location or operational sector. Register on your Member Dashboard or on the AWO App. Contact Caitlin Clark with questions or if you need assistance.
  • Combined Meeting of the Midwest, Ohio Valley & Southern Regions and AWO Safety Committees February 21 - 23 – New Orleans, LA
  • Atlantic Region February 28 - 29 – Savannah, GA
  • Pacific Region March 5 - 6 – Sacramento, CA
AWO Spring Convention Registration is Open! Registration for AWO’s Spring Convention and Barge-In is now open. Members can register to attend through the AWO Member Dashboard and reserve rooms at The Westin Washington - Downtown by clicking this link.
Please contact with any questions.