On 20 June 2016, a regulatory revolution was born when the U.S. Coast Guard published Subchapter M in the Federal Register. The regulations established new requirements for the design, construction, equipment, and operation of U.S. towing vessels, and were effective exactly one month later. The regulations were what American Waterways Operators (AWO) President and CEO Tom Allegretti described as “the most significant new regulation our industry has ever seen, with the potential to take safety and environmental stewardship to an unprecedented level.”1
The Public-Private Relationship
The government has cooperated with towing companies since September 1995, when the AWO trade association and then-Rear Admiral James C. Card of the U.S. Coast Guard signed “a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership” that later became a driving factor for future towing requirements.