AWO hails DHS approval of Subchapter M

The following is the text of a news release from the American Waterways Operators (AWO):

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — The American Waterways Operators, the national trade association for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hailed the Department of Homeland Security’s approval of the U.S. Coast Guard’s rule to establish an inspection regime for towing vessels at 46 CFR Subchapter M. The Subchapter M rule is now under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is the final stage in the administration review process and typically takes about 90 days. This means the rule, which will take safety in the towing industry to a new and historic level, could be published in the Federal Register by the end of June.

“For over a decade, AWO has strongly supported the Coast Guard as it has worked to develop a towing vessel inspection regime. We are very pleased that the end of the road to Subchapter M is in sight now that the rule is under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget. The rule will raise safety standards throughout the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, incorporating and building on the safeguards that quality companies have already put in place and ensuring that all towing vessels achieve a minimum threshold of safety that is necessary to protect lives, the environment and property. We urge OMB to review the rule expeditiously,” said Thomas A. Allegretti, AWO president and chief executive officer.

Allegretti said that navigating the transition to Subchapter M is the towing industry’s highest advocacy and safety priority. He added that AWO will work closely with the Coast Guard to ensure its members have the information and tools they need to facilitate smooth implementation of the rule when it is published this spring.

About the American Waterways Operators

The American Waterways Operators is the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, which operates on the rivers, the Great Lakes, and along the coasts and in the harbors of the United States. Barge transportation serves the nation as the safest, most environmentally friendly and most economical mode of freight transportation. For more information about AWO, visit

By Professional Mariner Staff