IMX To Highlight Sub M, Towboat Operator Best Practices

The 5th annual Inland Marine Expo (IMX) will present attendees with four educational tracks this year, with one being focused on vessel operations on the inland waterways. In addition to the vessel track, there will be a facility track (WJ, April 23), general interest track and FreightWeekSTL sessions (WJ, February 19).

The vessel track includes four sessions on May 22 and 23 on the exhibit floor of the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo. The first session, titled “Subchapter M Panel—Part 1,” will be presented Tuesday, May 22 at 10:30 a.m. by Jason Adams, chief operations officer at Inland Marine Service (IMS); Steven Douglass, Subchapter M subject matter expert with the U.S. Coast Guard; Paul Hite, operations coordinator with ABS; and Chris Parsonage, president of the Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau. The session will be moderated by David Hammond, president of IMS.

The two-part session will present the audience with several challenges to operators of inland towing vessels greater than 26 feet in length. Most requirements set forth by Subchapter M will take effect July 20. The panel will allow the inland towing vessel operator an opportunity to identify a path toward compliance that meets its individual needs, make improvements to a current plan, or get clarity and updates on specific parts of Subchapter M.

Part 2 of the Subchapter M session will commence at 1:30 p.m. the same day and will be a continuation of Part 1’s discussion, followed by a Q&A.

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The third session, “Crewing Your Inland River Vessel: Best Practices and New Developments,” will focus on the significant recruitment and regulatory challenges faced by the industry. The session, which is being moderated by Thomas Montgomery, president of Inland Rivers HR, will address strategies surrounding four topics that affect inland mariners—recruitment, employment and background checks, training and documentation of training under Subchapter M, and licensing challenges. Panelists for this session include Vicki Morgan, Inland Rivers HR; Bill Kline, president of The River School; and Debra Keller, vice president-compliance of Reverence Services Inc.

The final vessel track session, “Electric Propulsion,” will explore diesel-electric propulsion on the inland rivers. With increased regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and tightening revenue, diesel-electric propulsion may offer a valuable option to consider as part of the engineering design process for inland towboats. Session speakers include Edward Schwarz, vice president-new build sales with ABB Marine & Ports; Joshua Sebastian, engineering manager with The Shearer Group; and Erasto Fernandez, marine project engineer with Marathon Petroleum Company.

For a full lineup of education sessions and speakers, or to register to attend, visit the Inland Marine Expo website at