- Domestic Vessels

6/20/2016: Publication of subchapter M: Inspection of towing vessels

As a courtesy to our audience, Maritime Commons will provide a daily compilation of nationally-relevant Federal Register Notices. To provide comments for the public record, follow the Federal Register link for each individual notice. Please note, the Coast Guard cannot respond to comments on these notices outside of the Federal Register.

Today, the Coast Guard published subchapter M of title 46 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, which establishes new regulations and requirements  for owners and operations of tows and towing vessels.

Some major changes included in, and goals of, this final rule include:

  • Establishment of third-party inspectors;
  • Implementation of need for certificates of inspection on all applicable vessels; and,
  • Recurring compliance inspections and/or audits.


Over the next several months, Maritime Commons will host a series of posts to share information and resources to aid towing vessel owners and operators in adjusting to, and understanding, this new rule. These resources will include webinars and video training sessions hosted by the Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise, sharing FAQs and providing links for all future references as they are released.

“Subchapter M, and the implementation of safety management systems on towing vessels, is a landmark achievement towards getting this vital industry to an even higher level of safe, secure and environmentally-sound operations,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy.

Subscribe to Maritime Commons to be notified of any new resources to be provided by the Coast Guard on this new rule.

To see all the blog posts related to subchapter M, you can view the entire blog series.

For additional information, you can view the entire Federal Register notice.

We encourage you to share your questions about subchapter M in the comments below! You can also tweet to @maritimecommons using #SubchapM. We’ll work to get answers to all the questions asked, and will feature the most comprehensive questions in a future blog.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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