Coast Guard Sector Mobile to conduct safety spot checks of towing vessels

MOBILE, Ala. – Coast Guard Sector Mobile units along the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, and Mississippi Gulf Coast, and associated inland waterways will begin operations to ensure towing vessels are properly manned and crews have proper licensing as part of Operation Big Tow.

The primary objective of Operation Big Tow is to ensure towing vessels are being operated by properly licensed individuals through spot checks, examinations, and company audits.

To minimize impact to vessel movements or commerce, the Coast Guard is working with industry and towing vessel operators to conduct examinations at locks and dams, while vessels are tied up pier side, or through other methods that facilitate the flow of commerce while allowing examiners to check licenses and conduct safety checks.

The Coast Guard is committed to improving the safety of the towing industry through a proactive communications effort that promotes awareness of the Coast Guard’s regulatory authorities and encourages owners and operators of towing vessels to correct any issues with license compliance and safety.

“The majority of the towing industry operates safely and complies fully with licensing and safety requirements. This comprehensive operation will allow us to identify and work with any companies that may have problems as we pursue our mutual goals of safe navigation and commerce,” said Capt. Steven D. Poulin, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile.

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