A year from now, cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy will likely be returning to campus in New London, Conn., with a greater appreciation of the inland waterways.
They will have spent some time during the summer taking part in an innovative, new program that offers cadets the opportunity to work on inland towing vessels. The details are now being hammered out between the Coast Guard and the American Waterways Operators, whose members in the tug and barge industry will eventually host the cadets.
At a meeting of the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership QSC held in Arlington, Va., last month, a small working group was formed that will develop the outlines of a training program. Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, who heads up the Coast Guard Academy, discussed the concept with the group.
It was noted that materials and processes already developed through the Towing Vessel Bridging Program and the Industry Training Program for Coast Guard officers provide a solid foundation that can be adapted to the needs of cadets.
So, it looks like the framework is already in place to create an inland training program. With this encouraging news, Stosz’s hoped-for summer of 2012 start date for the program might be right on schedule.