USCG rolls out new Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise website

Doug Pine
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February 21, 2011

The USCG has just rolled out a new website for their Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE), located in Paducah, KY. Every tugboater in the United States should bookmark this site, and take advantage of the available resources contained within.

The TVNCOE’s Vision and Mission statements are:

The Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise is the Coast Guard’s forward thinking component on the towing vessel industry to keep all program stakeholders well-prepared to handle current and future needs.

Maintain trained experts in the towing vessel industry to serve as in-house consultants to the Coast Guard and as participants in technical forums and decision-making collaborations, provide technical advice to both the industry and the Coast Guard, and increase and maintain the Coast Guard’s collective competency and capacity to professionally engage with the towing vessel industry.


Our work is guided by the Coast Guard’s enduring core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. We are further guided by these three areas of emphasis:
•    People – Safety is our priority.
•    Excellence – We are professionals that strive for excellence in everything we do. We seek solutions that are both elegant and safe. Some of our best work is done when we wipe the slate clean and apply our knowledge in ways that depart from tradition.
•    Teamwork – There is often no one best answer. Our decisions and efforts need to be collaborative.

The most important line in the Vision and Mission statement is: “to professionally engage with the towing vessel industry.” As mariners, we can taken advantage of this commitment by fully utilizing the resources that are presently available on the website.

Imagine your day beginning like this: Your office has just informed you that the USCG examiner is on the way to the boat. Great. This could be a stressful day, or it could be a walk in the park. A lot of how the day goes is determined by how much you know.

So, where are you on the bell curve? Are you at least as knowledgeable as the examiner is about what’s in store for you today? Probably not, is my guess. So, take advantage of the opportunity to gain that knowledge by pointing, clicking, and downloading. For example, do you rush to make sure that your required publications are all up to date by grabbing the latest Local Notice to Mariners and the scissors and tape and getting busy? If you’re familiar with CG-Policy Letter 10-05 you don’t. Why? Because when you go to (Click to download PDF) you’ll learn that you can keep all your pubs now in electronic format (excluding nautical charts, of course).

Are you familiar with all the NVICs that apply to towing vessels? Do you know what a NVIC is? You’d better! You can find a whole list at

Do you have knowledge of what resources guide the examiner while he examines your boat (and you)? You don’t? So do something about it. Find out right here:

There is much, much more available on the TVNCOE website. It’s yours for the asking. Always remember, the informed mariner is the successful mariner. Level the playing field by utilizing this resource.

Capt. Doug Pine is actively involved in classroom and simulation training of tug boaters. He holds several pieces of paper that qualify him to do so, including a Master of Towing Vessels Oceans and Western Rivers. Capt. Pine is also a certified Designated Examiner for the Towing Licenses. Capt. Pine lives on an island somewhere in Puget Sound. He can be contacted via his Facebook page:

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