Coast Guard Academy Cadet Towing Vessel Rider Program Kicks Off Second Year

Inland Port Magazine
Issue III 2013

Cadets Daniela Andrade and Margaret Damariane working with Canal Barge.

For the second consecutive year, cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy are spending time onboard tugboats and towboats this summer as part of a program under the auspices of the Coast Guard-American Waterways Operators (AWO) Safety Partnership. The Coast Guard Academy Cadet Towing Vessel Rider Program was established in February 2012 and has parallels in the training of Coast Guard examiners under the Towing Vessel Bridging Program (TVBP). The program educates cadets on the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry through a week or more of shoreside and onboard training.

This year's program is off to a strong start. Beginning on May 15, several cadets paired with AWO member companies for their training experience, and more cadets are scheduled to partici­pate later in the summer. In total, five companies are planning to host 11 cadets, growing from last year's program in which three companies hosted seven cadets.

"Prior to departing the Academy on their sum­mer training programs, cadets participating in the towing vessel rider program attended a two-day Inland River orientation course," said LCDR Dan­iel Cost, Marine Inspection Training Coordinator for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. "The cadets spent two days learning about the nation's inland waterways systems, the different vessel types in the towing vessel community, and some common terms that they would likely encounter while out on the water. In addition, the course used several case studies to expose the cadets to the challenges associated with moving goods up and down the riv­ers. At the conclusion of the class, the cadets felt more comfortable with the industry, but were also extremely excited to be getting the opportunity to partake in the program."

Canal Barge Company, Inc., hosted two cadets on a round-trip towboat ride from Vicksburg, MS, to Baton Rouge, LA. Tom Smith, Vice President - Human Resources at Canal, noted that "the Coast Guard Academy Cadet Towing Vessel Rider program is a great way to continue to-build the relationship between the industry and the Coast Guard. We appreciate the Coast Guard recognizing that the inland river system is a unique operating environment and the need to familiarize cadets with brown water towing vessel operations. They were also able to attend our Tankermen Workshop to learn about tank barge cargo transfer opera­tions. In addition, our mariners had the valuable opportunity to work alongside the Coast Guard in an educational setting. We're excited to see the program continue and grow, and look forward to participating again next year."

"AWO could not be more pleased with the growth of this program," said Jennifer Carpenter, AWO's Senior Vice President – National Advocacy. "We hope to expand the program every year to give cadets more exposure to and experience to the industry, and the level of interest from both the companies and the cadets is very encouraging."