Tug and Barge Solutions passes 100 vessel milestone

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Chrystie Benson, Helm Operations (left) and Pat and Sandy Folan, Tug and Barge Solutions, at Helm Conference 2018​

OCTOBER 4, 2018 — Less than two years since it began helping tug and barge operator Ivy Marine become one of the first companies to achieve compliance with new Subchapter M rules, Daphne, AL, headquartered Tug and Barge Solutions (TBS) reports that more than 100 vessels now use its Towing Safety Management System and audit services, which are powered by Helm CONNECT software.

Founded in 2012 by tug captain turned ISM/ISO auditor Pat Folan and towing vessel operators Steve Wilson and Patrick Boles, TBS has been helping towing vessel operators achieve compliance with the US Coast Guard (USCG), International Safety Management (ISM), Tanker Management and Self-Assessment (TMSA) and other standards for more than five years. Starting with operators on the U.S. Gulf Coast and along the Intracoastal Waterway, TBS has steadily expanded to serve vessel operators throughout the U.S. Since the release of the USCG’s Subchapter M rules, TBS has emerged as a leading consultants for achieving Sub M compliance, providing towing operators with an easy-to-implement towing safety management system (TSMS).

“We saw the changes coming to the industry and wanted to put together a complete system to help small fleet operators achieve compliance,” says Pat Folan. “As a former tug captain myself, I knew how important it was to keep things simple, and easy for crew to use.”

TBS made headlines in September 2016 when it helped its fellow Daphne-based tug and barge operator Ivy Marine become one of the first companies in the country to receive USCG certification for its TSMS, leaping ahead of many larger operators to achieve Subchapter M compliance. In just two years since then, TBS’s client base has grown to include more than 125 vessels in the US. Over 100 of these vessels use Helm CONNECT to manage their compliance activities and records.

A key element to TBS’s growth has been the company’s close partnership with Helm Operations and use of Helm CONNECT, says Folan.

TBS provides its customers with a customized TSMS system incorporating maintenance and compliance routines, all within the Helm CONNECT platform, which is accessed via an internet connection or installed locally on vessels. Data from forms, compliance and maintenance routines completed by the crew are instantly shared with the vessels’ owners and TBS, allowing TBS to provide feedback and manage compliance and safety in near real time.

As TBS continues to grow its operations among Subchapter M vessels, the company is also working with Helm Operations to expand into a wider range of markets.

“As a company, our goal has always been to support a wider group of customers. Thanks to Helm CONNECT, we’re now able to serve more customers in a wide variety of verticals, and we’re currently working with Helm Operations to develop new safety management systems for dredging, marine construction vessels, as well as passenger and fishing vessels going forward,” says Folan.

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