The MMA Tug and Barge Operations class was the first of its kind among academies, beginning in 1984 and developed by Captains Herb Walling ’71 and Tim Leach ’10. Each year since, some 25-30 senior students have taken the class. If they complete the necessary competencies, they receive a Tug Operators Assessment Record (TOAR) endorsement, a requirement for licensed tug officers.
“Historically, the only way to acquire the necessary skills for the tug/barge industry was to hawsepipe your way off the deck into the wheelhouse,” Leach says. The MMA class, along with others conducted aboard the tug Pentagoet, changed that scenario in an industry that supports 4,500-5,000 vessels.
Here, a class practices docking and undocking the barge, Oyster Bay, with assist boat, Quickwater.
Leach, the principal instructor, gives much credit to Harry Stevens, Master of the Pentagoet: “Everyone who works with him admires Harry. He has a great work ethic and holds all the students who come aboard to the highest standards.
“The towing industries highly regard our students for their vessel operations skills and attention to safety management,” Leach says. “Those skills are a direct result of the hands-on training received through the tug/barge training program.”█
Photo: Courtesy of Josh Shaw ’12 who gives back to MMA by assisting with the class when time allows from his job with Edison Chouest Offshore.