American Waterway Operators

The American Waterway Operators (AWO) is a national trade association that represents the interests of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry. With over 500 members nationwide, AWO is the voice of the domestic maritime industry and works to promote a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible waterborne transportation system.

AWO’s members are involved in every aspect of America’s logistics supply chain, moving freight and cargo to and from all points in the country and include operators of more than 6,000 tugs, towboats and barges that transport cargo and passengers on America’s rivers and waterways. In addition to the operators who transport cargo, other members include companies that build or sell towing vessels or barges, individuals with an interest in waterways commerce, including suppliers that provide services needed by vessel owners such as towage insurance brokers.

The association works to ensure that this important sector of the economy has the infrastructure it needs to thrive, and that its vessels and crews operate safely and in an environmentally responsible manner.

As part of its activities AWO lobbies local, state and federal government on behalf of its members related to issues such as taxation, safety regulations, insurance requirements among other things.

The AWO publishes a range of publications and magazines. These include the association’s flagship publication TowBoatUS Magazine (BoatUS), as well as TowBiz, a quarterly magazine for members who own, manage or operate towing vessels that provide assistance to other boats.

The AWO also produces a range of videos and podcasts under its Video-Log brand and has recently launched an online continuing education series called Waterways University which is free for AWO members.