ARLINGTON, Va.June 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The American Waterways Operators has produced a new video showcasing the American Waterways Honor & Excellence in Rescue Operations (HERO) Award. The HERO Award, established on March 1, 2023, documents and recognizes rescues undertaken by AWO member company employees that demonstrate selflessness, skill and bravery.

The two-minute video, The American Waterways HERO Award: Honoring Industry’s Heroic Mariners, highlights the bravery of Award recipients as well as the important role that tugboat, towboat and barge industry mariners play in keeping our waterways safe. The video also features several awardees who shared their insights on their rescue efforts and on the industry’s dedication to safety culture. “If somebody goes in the water, we’re going to go get them,” explains one mariner. “I didn’t do anything that anybody else on any one of these boats wouldn’t have done.”

Examples of the rescues honored since the HERO Award’s founding include rescues of persons who fell overboard, assistance of disabled vessels, prevention of collisions, response to recreational boat sinkings, and much more.

AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter commented: “The HERO Award was created to recognize the heroism, professionalism, and selflessness of the men and women of America’s tugboat, towboat and barge industry. Their actions prevent harm and save lives on the water every day. We are so proud to share these stories, which exemplify the industry’s commitment to safety, and to shine a richly deserved light on the people who make the waterways safer for all.”

Qualifying events for the award include, among others: rescuing commercial or recreational mariners; responding to a medical emergency onboard; recovering a person who has fallen overboard; responding to a person in distress while traveling to/from the boat; and other selfless service actions that reflect the safety culture of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry. Companies wishing to nominate employees for an American Waterways HERO Award can visit our website to fill out an informational form.


About the American Waterways Operators

The American Waterways Operators is the tugboat, towboat and barge industry’s advocate, resource and united voice for safe, sustainable and efficient transportation on America’s waterways, oceans and coasts. Industry vessels move more than 665 million tons of America’s commerce each year on the U.S. inland and intracoastal waterways, the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts and the Great Lakes.

For more information about the importance of waterway transportation, please visit AWO’s website at