New TVIB award honors industry icon Mike Rushing

(CHANNELVIEW, Texas) — In the spring of 2023, the maritime industry said goodbye to a river industry icon with the passing of Mike Rushing. While the fingerprints of his passion and commitment can be seen throughout the river system, what many may not know is how Rushing lived a life of quietly serving others without seeking recognition.

Rushing served far and wide for his local church community, had years of leadership with the Boy Scouts and Soap Box Derby, and mentored the men in the Breaking Bonds Addiction Recovery Ministry. He was also a founding member of Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau (TVIB) in 2009. He served on the TVIB board of directors for 10 years, leading as its first chairman in 2012 and remaining active as the Audit Committee chairman until his death.

Mike Rushing

Shortly after Rushing’s passing, the TVIB board of directors discussed creating a recognition award to honor the spirit of the man who was integral to TVIB’s establishment and success. The board reflected on the values that defined Rushing – dedication, perseverance and a selfless commitment to serving others.

While working on the foundation of the award with a small group of TVIB’s founders and earliest supporters, Todd Rushing, Mike’s son, said of his father, “Everything he did, he did for someone else.” This sentiment resonated with the group and was quickly adopted into its framework.

The TVIB is now proud to announce the establishment of the Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award, a distinguished recognition that celebrates a lifetime of commitment to serving others and outstanding contributions to the maritime industry. This award seeks to honor individuals who embody those characteristics and traits Rushing modeled throughout his life. The honoree selected will serve as a role model for compassion, service and a passion for their community both at home and within the industry.

The award is open to anyone in the towboat, tugboat and barge industry, including members of the U.S. Coast Guard, who displays the core principles of the award: community service, professional excellence, and active and engaged mentorship. Nominations are being accepted through March 15 for individuals who embody Rushing’s spirit of selfless leadership.

The winner will be recognized at this year’s Waterways Journal Inland Marine Expo, and a financial contribution will be made to the Seamen’s Church Institute Ministry on the River program in honor of the recipient.

This award is not about the number of years served. It’s about the countless moments of inspiration, mentorship and leadership that have shaped the towboat, tugboat and barge industry, and acknowledging the enduring impact that a single individual can have on an organization and countless lives of others.

For more information about the award, or to nominate an individual, click here.

About the TVIB

The Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau is a nonprofit professional trade organization of marine auditors, surveyors and businesses formed in 2009. The TVIB became a Coast Guard-approved third-party organization for Subchapter M compliance activities in 2017.

In addition to conducting compliance activities on behalf of the Coast Guard, TVIB provides educational opportunities for the maritime industry on auditing towing safety management systems and conducting towing vessel surveys for regulatory compliance, and trains and certifies professional marine auditors and surveyors to conduct consistent, objective and independent audits and surveys of marine operators.

TVIB members provide marine audit and survey services to inland, coastal and oceangoing towing operators, as well as support service operators, across the country. For more information, visit

– Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau

By Professional Mariner Staff