My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
On June 20, 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard published in the Federal Register new towing vessel regulations that establish new requirements for the design, construction, on-board equipment, and operation of U.S. towing vessels. The regulations were considered and developed by the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) with special input from the commercial towing vessel industry. These new regulations make up 46 CFR Subchapter M.
The U.S. Coast Guard established the new Subchapter M rule to introduce safety regulations that govern characteristics, methods of operations, and nature of service of towing vessels. Inspection of towing vessels for compliance of these new safety regulations will be preformed by the Coast Guard or by third party organizations (TPO's) such as classification societies. The new Subchapter M rule, includes provisions covering specific electrical and machinery requirements for new and existing towing vessels, the use and approval of third-party organizations, and procedures for obtaining Certificates of Inspection.
46 CFR Subchapter M applies to all U.S. towing vessels 26ft in length or more and U.S. towing vessels less than 26ft moving barges carrying oil or hazardous material in bulk.
According to the Coast Guard and government research:
"towing vessels account for slightly more than two-thirds (67.5%) of the five-year average number of all vessels involved in collisions, allisions and groundings, almost one-third (29.8%) of the five-year average number of all commercial mariner deaths and injuries, and almost one-third (30.2%) of the five-year average number of all chemical discharge incidents and oil spills greater than 100 gallons into navigable waters for calendar years 2010 through 2014."
The Coast Guard's goal in introducing these new safety regulations in Subchapter M is to reduce the number towing vessel incidents such as personal injury or damage to the surrounding marine environment.
The new rule went into effect on July 20, 2016. Specific regulations in this rule will be phased in over time and existing towing vessels will have an additional two years to be in compliance with most of the requirements.
U.S. towing vessels will have two options when it comes to being inspected for compliance with Subchapter M regulations:
As a nautical chart & publication agent we have noted the importance of having nautical charts and publications on-board towing vessels in the Subchapter M rule. The requirements for nautical charts and publications in Subchapter M are found in § 140.705. § 140.705 states:
(a) This section applies to a towing vessel not subject to the requirements of 33 CFR 164.72.
(b) A towing vessel must carry adequate and up-to-date charts, maps, and nautical publications for the intended voyage, including:
(1) Charts, including electronic charts acceptable to the Coast Guard, of appropriate scale to make safe navigation possible. Towing vessels operating on the Western Rivers must have maps of appropriate scale issued by the Army Corps of Engineers or a river authority;
(2) “U.S. Coast Pilot” or similar publication;
(3) Coast Guard light list; and
(4) Towing vessels that operate the Western Rivers must have river stage(s) or Water Surface Elevations as appropriate to the trip or route, as published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or a river authority, must be available to the person in charge of the navigation watch.
(c) Extracts or copies from the publications listed in paragraph (b) of this section may be carried, so long as they are applicable to the route.
It should be noted that electronic charts are permitted for use in lieu of paper charts as long as they and the electronic chart system used to display the charts are approved by the Coast Guard. NVIC 01-16 provides further guidance on the use of electronic chart systems and applies to towing vessels.
All questions should be directed to LCDR William Nabach, Project Manager, CG–OES–2, Coast Guard, telephone 202–372–1386.