Page 9: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2019)

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OPINION: SubM chapter M progress, IAW with all Coast marine towing operations, and who also Analysis, warned readers, “The fear of

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Guard Districts, shows slow progress to- only have until July to get at least part getting bitten by the U.S. Coast Guard is

Folan wound up his Day One remarks wards the ? nish line, with almost 75% of it done. One member of the audience NOT why you should have a SMS. Fear by reassuring those in attendance that of all operators choosing the TSMS op- put it best when he deadpanned (tongue usually gets you compliance at best, con- not only was compliance possible, the tion. By year end 2018, only about 200 in cheek), “My ? rm owns and operates cealment at worst; falling far short of the smaller mom and Pop operators can and

COI’s had been issued nationwide for an two towboats; that’s by necessity, not by target for which we all should be aiming should achieve excellence, as well. To estimated target ? eet of 5,300 vessels. choice.” More than a few heads in the … For all its merits, however, we should that end, everyone – top to bottom, from

Hence, if you are shooting for the Coast room bobbed in agreement. all keep our eyes open for the pervasive the CEO right on down to the newest

Guard option and aiming to beat that The nature of the industry became ful- by-product called compliance culture, deckhand – had to be fully invested in

July 2019 deadline, but also haven’t yet ly transparent when Folan revealed that wherein safety is static, only achieves the journey. He pointed to Marine Tow- contacted your local OCMI, you’re un- his business mix involves an impressive the minimum, and exists mostly to satis- ing of Tampa as one such example. The likely to make the deadline. What then? 50 ? rms, but who also operate just 127 fy regulators; all of which leads to over- recipient of the ? rst ever COI under the

Coast Guard Sector Mobile couldn’t say vessels. And that metric is at the heart of con? dence in our system, which can be subchapter M rules, the ? rm now im- what the penalty for that might be – they the matter when it comes to who might dangerous.” pressively has all of its four boat ? eet in were standing by for advice from head- survive, and who will not. The quality of Captain Boone was, in that context, compliance. quarters. an operator’s marine personnel and the talking about passenger vessel opera-

For those that follow this lead, it will rate of turnover in those ? eets are both tors. But, he could’ve been talking about indeed be a long strange trip. At the

The TPO Side key indicators of whether an operator any number of domestic marine sectors. same time, the dialogue at this year’s

TBS Founder (Captain) Pat Folan was can make it to the Promised Land. Separately, Folan this week expressed TBS Conference showed that anyone next up to brief attendees on what they Folan, of course, also led the gathered the same sentiments a little bit differ- can do it. That said; whichever route you could expect if they went the TPO route. towboat operators through the bits and ently, telling his listeners, “You want a do choose, the time to pick up the pace

There was something for everyone: good pieces, forms and rules, and the ideal se- Captain who can run a waterway, but is now. Sure: we don’t (yet) know what news, bad news, laughter and tears. Get- quence and timeline that might lead to also one who knows how to run a boat.” will happen if you don’t. But Captain Pat ting right to the point, he started off by a successful outcome. But, for all that, The message from both is clear: com-

Folan puts it best when he says, “Let’s saying, “The little guy can make it.” simple compliance isn’t enough. In the pliance, without ‘buy-in’ from the per- not ? nd out.” I think that’s good advice.

And, despite TSAC predictions that as pages of MarineNews’ January 2019 sonnel tasked with making it happen in And, if you made the long journey to Or- much as 30% of operators could drop out print edition, for example, Captain Lee practice, is arguably as dangerous as no ange Beach and managed to pick up just because they are unable or perhaps un- Boone, Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s safety system at all.

one gem of wisdom, that’s a good one to willing to meet subM requirements, Fo- Of? ce of Investigations & Casualty remember. lan insists that the trend thus far has been nevertheless encouraging in that regard.

For example, it turns out that more than a few one boat operations were evolving into two boat ? rms through mergers and acquisitions. The expecta- tion that larger operators would quickly swallow up these entities hasn’t yet ma- terialized. For these still tiny enterprises, the TPO’s and other ? rms – like TBS, for example – are there to guide them through the sometimes confusing laby- rinth. Folan’s folksy presentation, built on decades of on-the-water experience in this wide reaching sector and a lot of common sense, resonated well with his audience.

Folan quickly addressed the news that there was no ? rm answer to the ques- tion of what would happen to those who could not comply by July 20. He ad- vised simply, “Let’s not ? nd out.” And then, having gotten the full attention of a room primarily consisting of one and two tug operators, he gave them the som- ber news that a fully compliant quality system can take as many as seven years to implement. That’s a tall order for some operators, especially those whose primary business target isn’t necessarily 9

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