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Towboat Captain

Department: Ozinga Materials
Location: Mokena, IL

General Responsibilities

  • The Captain is responsible for the safe and efficient operation and performance of his crew, vessel and tow, and for ensuring that the equipment is kept neat, clean, and in good working order. The Master must also ensure that company policy, rules, and regulations are   followed.
  • The Captain must report to the office all violations of Middle River Marine, LLC. Policy or violations of federal, state, or local laws.

Personnel Responsibilities

  • The Captain must advise the office of anticipated crew shortages or overages immediately, so as to enable the office to make timely manning adjustments among the vessels.
  • The Captain must instruct every crewmember to be courteous to all people at fleets, docks, locks, etc.
  • The Captain must set the watch standing schedule for his crew, ensuring that no licensed wheelman works more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.
  • The Captain must post a station bill and ensure that all crewmembers are familiar with their respective stations and duties in case of an emergency.
  • Either the Captain, Relief Captain or Pilot will be on watch at all times.  If he must leave the wheelhouse when the vessel is not underway, a crewman must be posted in the wheelhouse for security reasons and to monitor and attend the radio.

Equipment Responsibilities

  • The Captain must make frequent, regular inspections of crew quarters, heads, the galley, and all other areas of the boat and tow to ensure neatness, cleanliness, orderliness, safety and proper maintenance.
  • The Captain must ensure that all barges are in navigable condition and must report any deficiencies to the office. Damaged or endangered barges must be reported immediately and appropriate measures taken to ensure their safety.


Operational Responsibility


Radio Records and Reports

  • Each morning the Captain on watch must have the following information compiled so that when he gives the morning traffic or daily position report to the office, there will be no delay. Radio reports must be given in this sequence:
  • Give boat position and direction (up, down, East, West), milepost, waterway, and prior positions at 0600, 1200, 1800, and 2400 hours. Give this report between 0600 and 0700 hours every morning.
  • Name of barge(s).
  • Time and location of an exchange of barges with another towboat.
  • Estimated time of arrival at destination.
  • Delay time, place and cause (i.e. lock delay, traffic delay, etc.)
  • Quantity of fuel received on boat and the location and name of supplier.
  • Names of crewmembers boarding or departing the vessel, with times and locations of changes.
  • Any other pertinent information.

Vessel Daily Log Reports

  • It is the responsibility of the Captain to maintain the Vessel Daily Log and see that it is posted at the end of each six-hour watch by himself or his relief.

Crew Injury and Illness Reports

  • The Captain will report all personal injuries or illnesses to crewmembers or any illness occurring on his vessel on a Middle River Marine, LLC Personnel Injury Report form as soon as he becomes aware of such injury or illness.
  • The Captain will report any serious personal injury/illness or fatality to the head office. Remember that mobile phones and radios are not private. Serious personal injury/illness includes, but is not limited to, the following:
            • Apparent stroke or seizure;
            • Partial or total paralysis;
            • Partial or total loss of limb;
            • Loss of consciousness;
            • Second or third degree burns; and,
            • Compound fracture.
  • Report by radio any other personal injuries or illnesses which in the Captainís opinion warrant such action. This verbal report does not relieve the Captain of the obligation to submit the Standard Middle River Personnel Injury Report or the required U.S. Coast Guard Form CG-2692.
  • The Captain should also enter the incident in the Vessel Daily Log and have the injured party sign or initial the entry.

 Accident Reports

  • The Captain will report all accidents resulting in actual or possible damage to any Middle River Marine, LLC boat, other vessel or tows, fixed objects such as bridges, docks or locks, other objects such as buoys, or damage which results in cargo loss, contamination, spills or pollution on the Middle River Marine, LLC. Vessel Accident Report.
  • Groundings and wheel foulings should be reported, regardless of the extent of damage.
    • Serious accidents, such as collisions with other vessels or tows, which seriously disrupt the voyage and result in the grounding, sinking, or overturning of the vessel, cargo loss, pollution, or major fire should be reported on VHF radio. This verbal report does not relieve the Master of the obligation to submit the Middle River Marine, LLC. Standard Incident Report form.
  • The Captain should enter the incident in the Vessel Daily Log.
  • The original report should be mailed to the main Middle River Marine, LLC office. The Captain should retain a copy of the incident form should any future developments on the incident occur.

Requisitioning Supplies

  • Before placing requisitions or orders for supplies (groceries, rigging, equipment, etc.), the Captain should determine the need and the necessity of each item. The Captain must ensure that all receipts for fuel, oil, groceries, lines, and other supplies are sent to the office as soon as possible. It is also the Captainís responsibility to record vessel supplies delivered to the boat in the Vessel Daily Log.

 Safety Responsibilities

The Captain is responsible for the following:

  • Having all fire extinguishers recharged or refilled as required for each type of extinguisher;
  • Having a fire hose with a nozzle at each fire station;
  • Ensuring that dewatering pumps are on board the vessel and ready to use;
  • Having an adequate number of approved life preservers in good condition on board;
  • Ensuring that there is an adequate quantity of first aid supplies onboard the vessel;
  • Ensuring that all crewmembers are properly trained in first aid procedures;
  • Ensuring that all crewmembers are properly trained in the use of the firefighting equipment available at their assigned   stations;
  • Ensuring that all crewmembers are properly trained in emergency procedures, including fire drills and abandon-ship   drills;
  • Ensuring the seaworthiness of the lifeboat, if the vessel is so equipped;
  • Ensuring that all crewmembers are familiar with the contents of the Deckhandís Manual and the safety regulations in this   manual, and that all crewmembers adhere to these regulations; and,
  •  Conducting monthly drills and safety meetings in accordance with Middle River Marine, LLC. Policies and procedures. 



  •  A master must have a U.S. Coast Guard license as Master or Operator, Uninspected Towing Vessels, endorsed for service on Inland Waters.
  •  Unlicensed Master must have completed MRM Pilot Training, demonstrated boat handling skills and leadership. 
  • Z-Drive experience preferred

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