46 CFR Part 139 Third-Party Organizations
Towing vessel owners or managing operators who select the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option to demonstrate compliance with 46 CFR subchapter M must complete management and vessel audits to assess compliance with their TSMS, obtain a TSMS Certificate and complete surveys to demonstrate vessel compliance with 46 CFR subchapter M. Functions related to completing audits, issuing a TSMS certificate and completing surveys are carried out by a TPO or an organization that can perform the work of a TPO.
Organizations that may perform work as a TPO
In accordance with 46 CFR 139.110, classification societies that are recognized and/or authorized meet the requirements of a TPO. These classification societies are approved by regulation to perform certain work as a TPO without further Coast Guard approval.
Summary Table of Classification Society Subchapter M Functions
Commercial Vessel Inspection Alternatives and Delegated Functions
Coast Guard (TVNCOE) Approved TPOs
Organizations other than recognized and/or authorized classification societies that conduct TPO functions for towing vessels must be Coast Guard approved.
Summary Table of Coast Guard Approved TPOs Subchapter M Functions
How to be approved as a TPO
An organization seeking approval as a TPO under 46 CFR Subchapter M must at a minimum, submit an application package containing all the information listed in 46 CFR 139.120. The application package must be submitted to the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise, which will review the information and determine if the organization meets the minimum standards for approval as a TPO. TPO approvals are granted for a period of five (5) years.
Application packages can be submitted to:
Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise
504 Broadway St. Suite 101
Paducah, KY 42001
If your organization offers an auditor/assessor course you would like to be recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard, please see section 9 (page 13) of the TPO Guidebook.
Third-Party Organization (TPO) Guide
Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) Guide
Tips for Submitting TPO Applications for Approval
TPO Application Check Sheet