With only three months to go before the July deadline, we received a call recently from a tug company looking to get ready for Subchapter M. They asked for a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS), as they were sure it was mandatory from all they had heard. We could have sold them a good TSMS, but instead I told them the story of American Tugs, Inc. in Puerto Rico.

We first met the Rivera family, owners of American Tugs, Inc., at the Workboat Show a number of years ago. This family operation, running eleven tugs in Puerto Rico, quickly became a one of our best clients. In the years leading up to Subchapter M we partnered with them to gets their boats and crews ready. When Subchapter M arrived they embraced the change and started to implement our Towing Vessel Record/ Compliance Management System well ahead of time. They also followed our regulatory compliance surveys and got their boats up to Subchapter M standards.

When the time came to see if all their hard work had paid off, they called the Coast Guard and scheduled their inspections. Here’s what an inspector from Sector San Juan reported back to the company after their first COI inspection: “…Inspections such as the Marilin R are what makes my job very satisfying. The inspection team was more than pleased with the condition of the vessel and the knowledge of the crew. I could tell that the crew and your employees put a lot of time and effort to get the vessel ready for USCG inspection standards.”

American Tugs has, reportedly, received the first two Subchapter M COIs in Sector San Juan. They did it not with a Third Party Organization (TPO) and a TSMS, but buy simply getting into compliance with Subchapter M. Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be.