Work Boat And Mariner Pipeline Safety: First Ever Online Training And New Best Practices

By Ed Landgraf

Coastal and Marine Operators

The United States has a wealth of natural resources; everything from habitat to petroleum reserves is unequalled. Many U.S. citizens work in marine-, waterways- and energy-related industries. Underwater pipelines safely convey an array of liquids and gases within and well beyond our coastlines.

Marine construction, spudding, anchoring, wheel-washing and dredging, along with many other types of underwater activities, occur daily. Land-building, updating infrastructure and navigation all are vital to the U.S. economy.

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Together, these riches of natural resources, economic activity and restoration efforts pose special challenges with pipeline safety in marine environments. New pipelines and utilities are being installed or updated every day, combined with increasing dredging and marine construction activity in the same waters. The chance of a marine vessel contacting underwater infrastructure continues to grow. Accidental interactions and incidents have caused damage to vessels, spills, outages, gas releases, injuries and loss of human life.

Closing the underwater pipeline damage and safety gaps within lakes, bays, rivers, bayous, inlets, oceans and gulfs is the primary focus of new publications and online training from Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO).

Oil and gas pipelines, along with a wide array of utilities, crisscross U.S. waterways in record numbers; therefore, a new recommended best practices guide titled “Working Safely Near Underwater Pipelines” was released in 2019, along with a corresponding “Safety and Emergency Tip Card” for jobsite use. Both documents will help to ensure the continued safety and environmental protection that we all strive to maintain and enhance.

 The two new publications debuted at the annual Coastal and Marine Safety Emergency Response Workshop on November 6, 2019, in New Orleans, La. The meeting was co-hosted by the organizations that prepared these new tools: CAMO and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF). Funding from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) TAG Grant Program also played a significant role in this initiative. 

 The picture-packed best-practices guide leads personnel involved with underwater or marine projects through long- and short-term project planning steps. It includes guidance during construction, and the new pocket-sized, waterproof safety and emergency tip card also serves as a checklist or safety meeting topic at the jobsite.

This summer, the first ever national online and interactive pipeline safety training will be released for “Working Safely Near Underwater Pipelines.” It complements the recommended best practices and tip card highlighted above. This online training has something for everyone, no matter what their responsibilities entail. All mariners should have this training. It addresses general safety and damage prevention that can apply to all facilities. Telecommunications, electric, water and other utility lines often traverse some type of waterway.

This one-hour online training has seven training sections that can be completed at different intervals, on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, whatever fits your lifestyle. The training covers One Call, project planning, personnel roles, communication, timing, marking, tolerance zones and emergency response. The training is free for the first 500 users and only a one-time $5 administrative fee afterwards. This online training is a valuable resource when working near underwater pipelines. Let’s all work together and get everyone closer to “0” accidents!

Download “Working Safely Near Underwater Pipelines” Best Practices Guide and Tip Card for free at

To register for the online training at Damage Prevention Academy, visit or find the online training link at

For more info on joining CAMO or questions, contact Ed Landgraf, chairman, at