Finally, a towing vessel inspection final rule?

The Coast Guard has posted September 2014 on its regulatory agenda for the release of the towing vessel inspection final rule.

While many are already aware of the date, it is interesting to note that Subchapter M is expected to be released as a final rule. There has been speculation that due to the large volume of comments, Subchapter M may be changed significantly and put back out for further comments. But based upon the current information, when released, the rule will be final.

Additionally, the Coast Guard said that interested parties should become intimately familiar with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which can be viewed in the Federal Register. If you read between the lines, it appears that while changes will surely be made, the NPRM may not be too different from the final rule once published. While now may not be the time to invest huge sums of money in order to get ready for the vessel inspection final rule, now is certainly a good time to read the NPRM if you haven’t done it yet. If you wait for the release of the final rule before you start figuring it out, you will be behind the learning curve.

The regulatory agenda will be updated in August, which will be the next opportunity for a Subchapter M update. Stay tuned.

About the author

Kevin Gilheany

Kevin Gilheany is a marine consultant and owner of Maritime Compliance International in New Orleans. He works with companies to help increase profitability through improved compliance and management systems. Gilheany is a retired U.S. Coast Guard marine inspector, certified marine surveyor and auditor, and crew endurance management expert. He has also provided contract training to the U.S. Coast Guard, was an adjunct instructor of maritime security at Tulane University’s Homeland Security Studies Program, and has contributed to marine industry publications. He can be reached at or

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