Subchapter M Compliance

Subchapter M Video

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Subchapter M Presentation

Learn the key elements of Subchapter M and the new comprehensive safety system that includes company compliance, vessel compliance, vessel standards, and oversight.




The release of Subchapter M regulations in the United States establishes 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 the newly-released Subchapter M regulations. Early preparation with us 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. Our approach is to develop a customized strategy to help you achieve complete Subchapter M compliance. 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)


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.  ABS can begin performing your RCP audits today.


Whether you own a single vessel or large fleet, our team of subject matter and technical specialists can help develop the right solution for you. With 30 locations and more than 200 surveyors and 150 engineers, we are able to provide extensive support. Contact us today by out filling out the form to the right or emailing