Sub Chapter M – Key Elements & Common Misconceptions

“There’s a lot of very bad information about Subchapter M on the streets– a lot of misunderstanding and myths,” Ian McVicker, towing vessel coordinator at ABS Group, Paducah, KY. After a long ten year process, it seems that the final stages are commencing for the initiation of Subchapter M. The overall intention of the plan is to curb the past history of towing vessels, or previously known as un-inspected vessels. Some are saying this is the most important legislation in the history of the barge industry. The American Waterways Operators are forecasting the legislation to be published by June of 216. This is roughly 90 days pending approvals. “This had been a long time coming..,” Jennifer Carpenter, AWO”S executive vice president and COO, said during a phone interview. The ruling of subchapter M will raise safety standards throughout the barge, towboat, and tugboat industry. This is just expanding on what some larger companies already follow as a protocol for safety standards and quality control. The overall industry is going to have to come to compliance within the next 10 years, leading up to 2026. Cost estimations are set from about 14 million to 18 million dollars annually, industry wide over that ten year time frame. Twenty-five percent of a fleet must obtain a certificate of inspection each year. There also will be a two year implementation period after the final rule is published, after that there will be a compliance phase in period. “The best thing that companies can do is educate themselves about the rule, or have someone go through it with them. They could also meet with the Coast Guard Towing Center of Expertise,” McViker said. Overall the changes are necessary, positive, and will concurrently generate business for shipbuilding and ship repair shops.


Ian McVicker is pictured above,

Towing Vessel Coordinator at ABS Group Paducah KY