British Tugowners Association – benefits of membership

Like many similar trade bodies, the purpose of the British Tugowners Association (BTA) is to represent the interests of its members in order to provide a favourable commercial environment in which to do business. Founded in 1934, members are harbour and coastal towage operators, ranging from large corporates to smaller privately-owned companies, including a number of port authorities. The BTA also has a category of associate membership for other professionals interested in towage.

Members benefit from a strong secretariat, which is lodged in the UK Chamber of Shipping. As well as having access to expert policy advice, members may participate in the full range of chamber committees, seminars and networking events. The principle forum is the UK Chamber’s Harbour Towage Panel which is chaired by the BTA’s own Chairman, who in turn has a seat on the UK Chamber’s Supervisory Board. This engagement allows concerns to be identified, policies developed and the issue taken forward. The secretariat is well placed to champion the case for the industry and lobby government and other regulatory authorities. Much of the latter is achieved through strong links and a very effective working relationship with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Core to the BTA’s activity has been to improve safety in the industry by spreading best practice and striving to achieve a sound framework of training and certification. Success here is illustrated by the reduction in incidents reportable to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which have fallen by half over the last 10 years, and continue to fall. There is no room for complacency and there remains an ongoing need to build awareness and further develop best practice in the potentially dangerous environment in which tugs operate. The BTA’s annual safety seminar, attended by tugmasters, superintendents, pilots, the MAIB and others, is a forum that does this.

For trade bodies such as the BTA to be completely effective in influencing and informing the regulatory authorities, it is important that the membership is strong and representative of the whole industry. Important issues such as safety policy, informing the post-Brexit debate, taking forward the recommendations of the Maritime Growth Study, further implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention,the development of training and certification requirements, along with the new apprenticeships, all have a pan-industry effect. Those with an interest in harbour towage are thus strongly encouraged to join to ensure the industry’s voice is heard.

Full Members of the BTA are those companies that own or operate tugs or workboats of over 350kw engaged in towage, normally restricted harbour and coastal towage. Those not in this category, but have an interest in the towage industry, for example class societies, law firms, P&I clubs, marine consultants, suppliers and others may become Associate Members. All applications are subject to approval by the BTA’s Executive Committee.

British Tugowners Association – benefits of joining

  • Attendance at the BTA’s AGM, annual conference and dinner
  • Participation in the UK Chamber’s Harbour Towage Panel, the principal policy forming forum
  • Attendance at the BTA’s annual safety seminar
  • Interests professionally represented by effective lobbying of policy and regulatory issues
  • Access to UK Chamber of Shipping committees, seminars and networking events (Full Members)
  • Professional advice from UK Chamber policy staff (Full Members)
  • Networking with other towage operators and shipowners, as well as professionals with an interest such as law firms, P&I clubs, class societies and consultants
  • News, information and input to consultations through a system or circulars and bulletins

For further details about joining the BTA, please contact the BTA’s Secretary, Robert Merrylees

(e: || t: 020 7417 2843)