Safety Leadership

Subchapter M

The U.S. Coast Guard’s establishment of an inspection regime for towing vessels at 46 CFR Subchapter M is taking safety in the towing industry to a new and historic level by setting minimum safety standards for towing vessels, incorporating and building on the safeguards that AWO members have already put in place to ensure that the entire industry achieves the level of safety that is necessary to protect lives, the environment and property. For more information about the development of Subchapter M, please click here.
AWO is committed to helping all members successfully navigate the transition to towing vessel inspection, and to ensuring that Subchapter M is implemented smoothly and effectively so that it achieves its promise to improve safety and environmental stewardship throughout the tugboat, towboat and barge industry without interruption to maritime commerce. To that end, AWO works closely with the Coast Guard to resolve implementation issues and get answers to questions about the regulations.
Subchapter M establishes two paths to compliance for towing vessel operators: either annual Coast Guard inspections or the implementation of a Coast Guard-accepted Towing Safety Management System (TSMS). The Coast Guard has accepted the AWO Responsible Carrier Program as an existing safety management system that meets the TSMS requirements of Subchapter M.

AWO’s work on Subchapter M implementation issues is informed by its Towing Vessel Inspection Working Group. To join the group, please contact Caitlyn Stewart.