Subchapter M is a set of federal rules under 46 CFR which requires owners/operators to establish a comprehensive safety system framework that includes company compliance, vessel compliance and various standards for vessels. The regulations incorporate many new requirements governing the design, construction, equipment, safeties, certification, records and operation of towing vessels. Subchapter M applies to all U.S.-flag towing vessels, except for:

  • towing vessels less than 26 feet, unless moving a barge carrying oil or hazardous materials
  • assistance towing vessels
  • workboats operating within a worksite
  • seagoing tugboats greater than 300 GR
  • some other inspected vessels that perform occasional towing