AWO cancels conference, schedules COVID-19 webinar

The following is a letter to member of the American Waterways Operators (AWO) from Jennifer Carpenter, president and CEO:

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — In follow up to my video message Friday, I am writing to share an important update and encourage you to take advantage of the resources AWO is providing to help you as your companies, our industry and our country navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

First, in light of yesterday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control that gatherings of more than 50 people not be held for the next eight weeks, we have made the unfortunate but necessary decision to cancel the Spring Convention and Barge-In, which had been scheduled for April 21-23. The convention and barge-in will not be rescheduled and the board of directors meeting will be held by videoconference. Please stay tuned for further information.

Second, I encourage you to register for Thursday’s webinar, “Addressing COVID-19: Preparedness Planning in Action,” which will be held at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 19. Click here to register. AWO’s Safety Leadership Advisory Panel is guiding the development of the webinar content, which will examine what some companies are doing to address the many challenges this virus poses for marine employers, including:

• Training crewmembers to reduce their risk of exposure when on duty and reporting to work
• Identifying signs, symptoms and transmission of the virus
• Best practices for instructing crewmembers on respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, cleaning of high-touch surfaces and vessel sanitation  
• Screening of crewmembers and non-crewmembers with essential business aboard the vessel
• Supplies and materials to have on board vessels
• Steps to limit non-essential boarding by non-crewmembers
• What to do in the event a crewmember tests positive for the virus
• How to incorporate social distancing in shoreside operations

If you have specific questions or concerns that you would like us to address in the webinar, please email them to

As always, your AWO team is here for you during this very challenging time. Please feel free to call me directly to share your thoughts on how best we can help: (703) 841-9300, Extension 260.

Click here to access the AWO's COVID-19 Contingency Planning Guide.

By Professional Mariner Staff