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U.S. Coast Guard Approved License Training (Western Rivers & Great Lakes); Maritime Security, Tankerman & Other Programs in Memphis TN

the river school memphis

In 1972 the Coast Guard established new requirements for licensing mariners who operate towboats on Western Rivers. The new rule introduced a series of examinations which must be successfully completed to qualify for an Operator Uninspected Towing Vessels (OUTV) license. The River School was founded to assist the professionals in preparing to meet the academic requirements of the new license. From the very beginning, The River School focused on providing individual rivermen with personal support in dealing with regulations, applications, and examinations.

Founded in 1972, The River School offers a variety of courses, both those required by Coast Guard regulations and others for individual professional development. The courses are all transportable making them convenient and cost effective. The instructors are professionals with service in the US Coast Guard, the U.S. Merchant Marine and the River Industry. All are highly qualified in their field and are experienced, proven training professionals. Training courses offered by The River School include licensing, maritime security, RADAR, tankerman, and personal survival and river rescue.

The River School offers many professional books and training videos including Minutes to Live!, Mariner’s Guide to the Inland & International Rules, The River Radar Manual, Tank Barge Fire Safety, Towboat Fire Safety, Maritime Security Awareness, Regulations Handbook for Uninspected Towing Vessels, Regulations Handbook for Liquid Cargo Operations, and Regulations Handbook for Maritime Security.

river school training

Training Programs

Licensing Courses



  • Steersman of Towing Vessels / Master/Mate 100/200T - Western Rivers (5-7 days): Five to seven day course which includes a Coast Guard-approved Rules of the Road course.
  • Steersman of Towing Vessels / Master/Mate 100/200T Great Lakes - Inland: Ten to fifteen day class which includes a three-day Coast Guard approved Rules of the Road course.
  • Steersman of Towing Vessels - Western Rivers: Ten-day course includes in-depth instruction in all subject areas required by Coast Guard regulations for the new Steersman of Towing Vessels license.
  • Designated Examiner: This 8-hour course provides experienced Masters the training and information needed to qualify as a Designated Examiner.
  • Inland Rules of the Road: Three-day, Coast Guard-approved course provides the student with an in-depth look at the Inland Navigation Rules.
  • Engineer Licenses: Ten to fifteen day class -Students prepare by the traditional means to pass Coast Guard exams for either Upper Level or Lower Level engineer licenses.

Maritime Security Courses

  • Maritime Security: One-day course for Company, Facility and Vessel Security Officers who require training to comply with 33 CFR Subchapter H - the Coast Guard's new maritime security regulations.
  • Maritime Security Audits and Exercises: All facilities and vessels subject to the new Coast Guard maritime security regulations must conduct an audit and annual exercise of their security plan.

Tankerman Courses

  • Tankerman-PIC (Barge) Dangerous Liquids: Four-day, Coast Guard approved cargo course -Required initial training for new tank barge tankermen who will handle dangerous liquids.
  • Tank Barge Fire Safety: Two-day course, Coast Guard approved -Required initial training for all tank barge tankermen. This course combines classroom lecture with practical fire fighting training utilizing a custom fire trailer.
  • Combined Tankerman Course: Six-day course, Coast Guard approved - Includes both the required cargo and fire safety courses at a discounted tuition.

Special Programs

  • Pollution Vessel Response Operator: This course will include both classroom and on-the-water instruction addressing small boat seamanship, rules of the road, response operations, river navigation, and team coordination.
  • Personal Survival and River Rescue Course: This course provides students with essential safety information and practical experience in the use of PFDs and rescue boats/equipment.
  • Shipyard Competent Person / Confined Space Entry: Two-day course meets OSHA 1915.7c standards for Shipyard Competent Person training. Confined spaces and many enclosed spaces require atmospheric testing before entry as well as periodic re-testing.
  • Rules of the Road Refresher Course: This 4-hour course provides students with update/refresher training on Inland Rules of the Road and meets AWO RCP requirements for Rules of the Road recurring training.

Radar Courses

  • River Radar Observer (3 days): This USCG approved course is a required initial training for operators of towing vessels equipped with radar on Western Rivers.
  • Inland Radar Observer (4 days): This is a required USCG approved initial training for operators of towing vessels equipped with radar on Inland waters.
  • River Radar Recertification: One-day Coast Guard approved recertification course required for all OUTV/Masters renewing a Western Rivers license
  • Inland Radar Recertification: Two-day Coast Guard approved recertification course required for all OUTV/Masters renewing an Inland license.
  • Radar Operator (4 hours): This radar operation / orientation course is for those interested in learning basic radar operation.

Training Materials (Books)

  • US Coast Guard Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook
  • Mariner’s Guide to the Inland and International Rules
  • The River Radar Manual
  • Riverman's Trip Log
  • Tank Barge Fire Safety
  • Towboat Fire Safety
  • Maritime Security Awareness
  • Regulations Handbook for Uninspected Towing Vessels
  • Regulations Handbook for Liquid Cargo Operations
  • Regulations Handbook Maritime Security for Vessels and Facilities

Training Videos

  • Towboat Fire Safety
  • Minutes to Live!

Last updated Aug 15, 2018

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