Computers on tugboats are becoming as ubiquitous as coffeemakers. The old-time logbook just doesn’t cut it anymore to meet the compliance requirements of 46 CFR Subchapter M. Recordkeeping, along with safety audits and inspections, is a large piece of the year-old regulation that requires all towing vessels over 26' to obtain a Certificate of Inspection.

Many operators have turned to U.S. Coast Guard designated Third Party Organizations (TPO) to assist in developing a safety management system and track compliance.

Decatur Marine, a Dulles, Va.-based TPO, recently launched a software application to complement on-the-ground services. Wheelhouse, as the new program is called, provides Decatur Marine’s customers with real-time tracking of vessel audits and surveys and data storage for recordkeeping. The software also creates a platform for the operators to share data with both the TPO and inspectors. This allows the operator to schedule inspections through the software and track the results.

“Once the audit/survey takes place, the inspection report will be uploaded into Wheelhouse by the inspector, where the operator and TPO can access it,” Steve Bomgardner, managing director of Decatur Marine said. “This really helps our towing vessel operators who already have a lot on their plates."

Wheelhouse is free to Decatur Marine customers.


A collection of stories from guest authors.