About Us

Who we are:

The Master of Towing Vessels Association (MTVA) represents the interests of U.S. Coast Guard-licensed masters, mates and pilots of towing vessels (Oceans, Near Coastal, Great Lakes/Inland & Western Rivers), with a focus on safety issues, licensing and certification, training, and professional qualifications standards. Obtaining these licenses has become increasingly difficult in recent years and the pool of new recruits into the industry has become almost non-existent. Many of the existing Baby Boomer-generation captains and mates have been and will be retiring in a large wave over the next decade or so. In their wake will disappear a valuable and irreplaceable source of towing knowledge that cannot be learned in the classroom or properly taught and accounted for using the existing Towing Officers Assessment Record (TOAR) system. Now more than ever, our voice needs to be heard by the regulators, legislators, and the industry at large. If you hold a license as Master, Mate or Pilot of Towing Vessels, and think that working mariners have been ignored for far too long, please consider joining us.

We offer affiliate memberships to companies that manufacture products used on towing vessels and barges, which meet our standards for safety and performance, and share our interest in and mission of improving equipment, practices and procedures in the marine industry in general and the towing industry in particular.

Contact us via e-mail at committee@mtvassociation.com

Snail Mail goes to: Master of Towing Vessels Association, P.O. Box 261, South Beach, OR 97366

We’ve recently expanded our territory to include all of North America by welcoming into our ranks some new members who are towing vessel masters licensed by Transport Canada.

The goals of the Association are to:

  1. Make the occupation more attractive to mariners presently in the industry, thereby improving retention.
  2. Share information on the current environment of the towing industry, as well as its licensing, manning, and general regulatory issues.
  3. Make sure regulatory decisions affecting our industry are no longer made without any regard for the working mariner’s concerns by engaging with Congress, the Coast Guard, and the industry whenever necessary.
  4. Retain, preserve and pass on the traditional practices and skills of the towing industry from those veteran captains and mates who will soon be retiring with their decades of hard-earned practical experience.
  5. Make the TOAR training system more user-friendly and appealing to new recruits into our industry.
Immediate Safety Threat: to see what we call the “30-Day Wonder Program”, the U.S.C.G.’s 2008 rule change to help “solve” our industry’s deck officer manning crisis by extending the ill-conceived and dangerous 30-days and a TOAR-loophole to anyone with at least 3 years of service on a 100 or 200-ton license, click here to view the Federal Docket #USCG-2006-26202. This loophole has existed since 2001 for all deck officers with licenses over 200 Gross Register Tons (500GRT, 1600GRT and unlimited-tonnage), and it’s time to get rid of it before even more damage is done. If you’re a member of Congress, a congressional staff member, a journalist, a public safety official or a concerned but confused member of the public and you can’t seem to make sense of the regulatory jargon in the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, or the Coast Guard’s NVIC’s and policy letters, we have the solution. You can download our informative Towing License Sea-time Requirements flyer which spells the situation out clearly.

Current MTVA Activities & Projects:

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) of California’s 36th District, is pressing the USCG on our behalf to explain why just thirty 8-hour days onboard a tug is now considered adequate experience to safely operate one.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has written a letter directly to the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, stating our concerns with this proposed reduction in minimum seatime requirements and requesting an explanation for it.

Likewise, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has requested and submitted our “Questions for the Record” to the Coast Guard regarding this proposed reduction in seatime requirements.

MTVA Resolution #2008-01 is being circulated around Washington, D.C. with the goal of increasing funding for and mariner participation on the Coast Guard’s Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC).

MTVA Resolution #2008-02, aimed at getting rid of the 30-days and a TOAR-loophole for good, is also in circulation.

The Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) in Seattle, Wa. and the Maritime Institute for Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Baltimore, Md. have begun dialog with the MTVA towards helping to modify their 2-year Workboat Mate Program into something we can fully and confidently endorse.

MTVA members have also collaborated with the Pacific Maritime Institute in rewriting and expanding on a new gold-standard Towing Officers Assessment Record (TOAR) for the entire towing industry. For the first time there will be a TOAR that covers all the bases and anyone can use it.

Several MTVA members are currently involved in field testing a new navigation software program from Rose Point Navigation Systems of Redmond, Wa. We’ll be offering our suggestions for improvements and, if we are satisfied with the finished product, giving it the much-sought-after MTVA “seal of approval.”


  1. Good Afternoon!

    I saw your posting on the Voith Schneider Propeller and its operation. As you know, the International Work Boat Show is in New Orleans this week. If you are in town, please visit the Voith booth 1655 and/or attend my presentation at the show on Thursday. If unable to attend, please contact me directly for additional data on the VSP and its applications. Lee Erdman / Product Manager North America / Office: 717-767-3225 / Mobile: 717-578-9237 / e-mail: lee.erdman@voith.com

  2. I applaud you for speaking up for the tugboatman.
    After 35 years in the business both at sea on all 3 coasts and ashore in my personal opinion it is great to have one voice that speaks for us.

    Capt Igor Loch Jr.
    Director Marine Operations, Harbor Services
    Foss Maritime
    home email-loch914nst@aol.com

  3. I have been looking around marine-cafe.com and actually am impressed by the terrific content material here. I work the nightshift at my job and it really gets boring. I’ve been coming right here for the previous couple nights and reading. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been enjoying what I have seen and I look ahead to reading more.

  4. cool site
    http://needman.ru сайты знакомств с иностранцами
    бесплатные международные сайты знакомств

  5. What would the world be without tugs and tugboatmen?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: