HOST > S.O.P.'s > Voluntary Commercial Towing Examinations

Safe Operating Practice 2-97
Voluntary Commercial Towing Examinations
Approved July 31, 1997

Issue. The local maritime community is lacking a Commercial Towing Vessel Examination Program.

References. None

Discussion. At the request of HOST, the Coast Guard was asked to implement a voluntary exam program. This program can improve commercial towing vessel safety and reduce casualties involving commercial towing vessels. This will be accomplished through a voluntary dockside or underway examination of commercial towing vessels. The examination will verify compliance with minimum federal regulations. Educational efforts will focus on making commercial towing crewmembers aware of casualty causes and new requirements. Additionally, both Coast Guard and industry personnel will benefit from the exchange of information during the examination on standard industry practices and Coast Guard regulations and policies. This partnership with industry should bring to light problem areas and the best practices that can be shared with everyone to increase the safety of the industry.

Recommendations of HOST:

1. Create a Voluntary Towing Vessel Examination Procedure, listed below.

2. Capture the Voluntary Towing Vessel Examination Procedures in the HOST Safe Operating Practices Handbook.

Resolution. Representatives from industry and the USCG created and put forth a Voluntary Commercial Towing Vessel Examination program for HOST approval. HOST members approved the examination procedures and the USCG and towing vessel owners will implement the program.

Voluntary Commercial Towing
Vessel Examination Procedures

Examinations are to be coordinated with the vessel's class society and the American Waterways Operators Responsible Carrier Program representative where appropriate. Commercial towing vessels will be examined by qualified Coast Guard marine safety inspection personnel.

The MSO Inspection Department is responsible for conducting and recording these examinations.

Record keeping procedures will include examinations recorded in the Marine Safety Information System.

To ensure examinations are conducted in a consistent manner throughout the MSO area of responsibility, MSO Honolulu has published an Inspections Note that shall be used. The Note provides detailed guidelines on how to arrange and conduct exams. Included are Requirements For Uninspected Towing Vessels, an Uninspected Towing Vessel Examination Checklist, and an Uninspected Towing Vessel Safety Examination Results form, that have been developed by a HOST subcommittee to be used during these exams.

The voluntary examinations will be conducted with the expressed understanding between the Coast Guard inspector and vessel representative that a civil penalty will not be levied against the vessel owner for items discovered to be missing or not working during the examination.

These exams are designed to assist operators in meeting federal standards and an opportunity to pass new information to crewmembers. Examinations are not designed to catch the commercial towboat vessel owner/operator in a poor state of maintenance nor interfere with their scheduled voyage, but to verify their good operations and management practices.

Vessel owner/operators shall:

1. Call the Marine Safety Office to arrange exams.

2. Coordinate timing with class societies and the American Waterways Operators.