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10/6/2017: Marine Safety Alert 11/17: Remain upright by fully understanding vessel stability

The need for operators to understand their vessel’s Stability Instructions cannot be overstated. This post provides resources and tips to help vessel operators reduce the risk of capsizing due to excessive icing or weight, vessel conversions or modifications, or compromised water tight integrity. Although the content is geared toward commercial fishing vessel operators, it is information that any mariner should be familiar with.

Submitted by the Office of Inspections & Compliance (CG-5PC)

The Office of Inspections and Compliance issued Marine Safety Alert 11/17: Remain upright by fully understanding vessel stability.

This safety alert addresses concerns related to vessel stability and watertight integrity. Recently, a marine casualty involving a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea resulted in multiple fatalities and complete loss of the vessel. A Marine Board of Investigation is currently analyzing the various circumstances surrounding the casualty. Although the investigation is not complete, testimony and fact finding indicate that vessel owners, operators, and crews should give special consideration to vessel stability concerns.

The need for operators to understand their vessel’s Stability Instructions (SI) cannot be overstated. It is important to understand the document. Operators and crew should seek out opportunities to further their knowledge of stability via courses, training, workshops, and visits from Naval Architects. They should also take advantage of other various initiatives, both mandatory and voluntary, to discuss and compare a vessel’s current SI to the actual loaded condition prior to departing port. An independent review of a vessel’s loaded condition, equipment, and operations can often provide important insights.

Operators can significantly reduce the risk of capsizing by performing the following actions:

 

Operators should confirm the accuracy of their SI whenever a vessel undergoes any of the following actions:

 

Carry pots?

Pots can significantly impact a vessels stability if not properly calculated.

Icing makes a vessel dangerously unstable:

Real life conditions easily and often exceed 1.3 inches of icing.

Operators should perform the following actions to maintain watertight integrity:

 

Important vessel stability training hyperlinks:
Online Stability Training
Stability Guide
Stability Card Sample
Stability Log
Stability Modification Sample

This safety alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirements. Developed by a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation in conjunction with Coast Guard District 13 and 17 Prevention Divisions. Questions may be sent to HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

 

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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