Page 38: of Marine News Magazine (March 2017)

Pushboats, Tugs & Assist Vessels

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Surveys and Towing Vessels in a post-SubM World

The Ultimate Survey Primer

By Pat Folan, Tug & Barge Solutions ran tugs in the northeast for almost 20 years before I got and rigging shouldn’t be part of the towing vessel survey.

the bright idea to go out on my own and start a tug compa- Eventually, I found a boat and a tug surveyor and I went ny. Previously, I had worked around surveyors, performed to work towing. Having worked on tugs, managed them,

I a few rudimentary surveys on tugs and barges and then had repaired them and ? nally owned one, I know what I want to hire a surveyor when I found a tug I liked in New Eng- in a survey: descriptive, honest information that deals with land. I quickly learned that words can kill your dream and the safety and reliability of the vessel. I want to know that a boat. I hired a competent surveyor from a respected ? rm. she has good bones (or bad), that the equipment for tow-

I had been through the tug, had an engineer help me with ing and lifesaving are appropriate for the vessel and in the mechanical parts and then brought the surveyor in. One good condition (more on de? nitions later) and that it will sentence killed the deal: Engine wouldn’t start. meet the regulatory requirements.

It wouldn’t start because the owner wasn’t there to start it and it wasn’t mine to start. The underwriters demanded a The Advent of SubM mechanical survey which was a lot more than I wanted to pay Subchapter M will change surveying. It mandates what so I moved on to another tug. The survey lived on and the will be in a survey of your towing vessel. Parts 137, 140, boat couldn’t be sold without the mechanical survey. Eventu- 141, 142, 143 and 144 of 46 CFR Subchapter M tell you ally, she was scrapped. The surveyor did his best to rectify the everything that the U.S. Coast Guard wants in a survey. situation as did his ? rm, but the horse was out of the barn. Combine that with everything that you want and you’ll have a great, useful look at your vessel. A robust audit and sur-

Lessons Learned vey program will help you improve in ways that you never

That lesson stayed with me. As I started performing more thought of before. With Sub M, you will get consistent, de- surveys, grammatical correctness became as important as tailed reports for the life of your vessel. You will now know survey accuracy. The next boat I looked at was in Florida. everything about your vessel and it should be in one report.

A surveyor was recommended. He wrote a very detailed Be proactive with your survey program. Make sure that survey with 44 recommendations. Many of the details and you have a checklist so that when the survey has been con- most of the recommendations were irrelevant. They weren’t ducted, you can go through it and make sure that it meets terribly important for a tug – hot water heater has rust, bad (and hopefully exceeds) Sub M requirements. And have a housekeeping, rust on the bulwarks – or to me. The under- Sub M survey done well before you need it for compliance. writers wanted all 44 taken care of before they would insure You have time to correct problems that a surveyor might it. The surveyor was a yacht surveyor and probably a very ? nd. Don’t wait until the last minute as it could put you good one, but he had no business surveying a tug. Spars out of business.

*All images courtesy of Pat Folan

March 2017

MN 38

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.