Subchapter M Compliance

Subchapter M Compliance and Training

Subchapter M Video


Commercial use of the United States inland waterways goes back to the country’s founding, starting with eastern seaboard rivers and through complex canal systems that extended the waterways. Subchapter M regulations in the United States establish towing vessel safety regulations overseeing inspections, standards and options for safety management systems. Operators are required to have a Certificate of Inspection from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to maintain fleet operations.

The USCG recognizes ABS for having a comprehensive set of safety vessel standards. As a USCG-approved third party organization, we offer fully integrated solutions to help owners and operators achieve and maintain compliance with Subchapter M regulations. Early preparation enables smooth transitions, alleviates uncertainty, and allows you to maintain uninterrupted operations.

Training Now Available:

Preparing for a U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M Survey

ABS and Moxie Media have developed a Subchapter M training course designed to prepare vessel crews, company management, and internal and external surveyors on what to expect when a survey is conducted. The training is available for purchase on DVD, on demand video, or it can be added to your current learning management system.





To demonstrate compliance, you can adopt a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) or opt for annual Coast Guard inspections. Your strategy could include:

  • TSMS implementation and auditing
  • ABS approved comprehensive plan reviews on behalf of the USCG
  • ABS Nautical Systems – Digital platform for fleet management
  • Class in conjunction with International Safety Management Code (ISM)

Our service network has 30 locations across the US, 18 offices along US gulf and inland waterways and more than 200 qualified surveyors and auditors to provide you support. Contact us today by out filling out the form to the right or emailing


ABS has an auditing agreement with the American Waterways Operators (AWO) allowing us to carry out audits and manual reviews for its Responsible Carrier Program. The USCG approved the RCP as an approved Safety Management System in the fall of 2016. Contact us to schedule an RCP audit. 


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