National Towing Safety Advisory Committee

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The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (Public Law 92-463, October 6, 1972), provides for the Federal government to seek the advice of citizens on a range of issues affecting its policies and programs. Approximately 1,000 advisory committees are in existence at any time, each must adhere strictly with FACA, the Freedom of Information Act, and related regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard uses Federal Advisory Committees as advisors on a range of topics. Each Committee has its own charter, and as a result, committees may be different from one another. Under the authority of FACA, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, through the Commandant of the Coast Guard, has delegated the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection the responsibility to oversee and utilize the National Towing Safety Advisory Committee (NTSAC). 

The National Towing Safety Advisory Committee was established on December 4, 2018, by § 601 of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-282, 132 Stat. 4192 and is codified in 46 U.S.C. § 15108.  The function of the Committee is to advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security on matters relating to shallow-draft inland navigation, coastal waterway navigation, and towing safety.  The Committee will submit, in writing, to the Department of Homeland Security its advice, reports, and recommendations, in a form and at a frequency determined appropriate by the Committee.

Admin & Organization:

The Committee consists of 18 members with particular expertise, knowledge and experience regarding shall-draft inland and coastal waterway navigation in the commercial towing industry.  The Army Corps of Engineers and the Maritime Administration may also designate a representative to serve a three-year term, except that members appointed to fill a vacancy, which is not caused by the end of a term, may also serve the remainder of that individual's term.  In conformance with the Department of Homeland Security's diversity goals, the membership of NTSAC includes women and ethnic minority groups.  In addition to the members of NTSAC, numerous other persons with equal experience and experience serve on NTSAC's various subcommittees.  All of the NTSAC members are volunteers, entitled to receive compensation for one public meeting per year.  Committee members may serve up to two, 3-year terms.  Two Committee members are elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman to serve as the presiding officers on the Committee.  The Committee also has a Designated Federal Officer, who is a full-time Coast Guard official.   This individual furnishes administrative and staff support to the Committee.  The DFO or Assistant Designated Federal Officer (ADFO) must be present at each Committee meeting.


NTSAC meets twice a year in addition to subcommittee and working group meetings with the approval of the Designated Federal Officer (DFO). Members may be reimbursed for travel and per diem, and all travel for NTSAC business must be approved in advance by the DFO. Committee meetings are open to the public unless a determination is made by the appropriate Department of Homeland Security official in accordance with DHS policy and directives that the meeting should be closed in accordance with Title 5, United States Code, subsection (c) of section 552b. Subcommittees meet on an as needed basis, depending on the task assigned by the Committee and the scope of work involved. Subcommittees carry out their assigned tasks by meetings, telephone, fax, or correspondence.

2023 Meetings:

NTSAC is scheduled to meet in-person in Annapolis, MD on April 30th and May 1st at the Graduate Hotel located at 126 West Street. The 30th will be a subcommittee(s) working day and the 1st is the formal NTSAC Public Meeting where NTSAC recommendations are presented to the full committee to be voted on.  Both days will be open to the general public to attend and participate.  **No virtual participation option is being planned for this public meeting**


Please see the below materials that will be referenced during the NTSAC Meeting:

Active Tasks and Subcommittees:

NTSAC Draft Final Reports:

NTSAC Final Reports:

Final Report for NTSAC Task 21-01, “Recommendations for the Criteria Used to Apply the Term Occasional Towing”

Final Report for NTSAC Task 21-03, “Recommendations on the Anticipated Challenges Expected to Impact the Towing Vessel Industry”

Final Report for NTSAC Task 21-04, “Recommendations on the Challenges Faced by the Towing Vessel Industry as a Result of the Covid-19 Pandemic”