- Domestic Vessels

Policy Letter: Inspection guidance for high risk small passenger vessels

The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has published Policy Letter 20-02: “Inspection Guidance For High Risk Small Passenger Vessels” to provide Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) with inspection guidance for high risk small passenger vessel (SPV) inspection.

Risk assessment and risk management are daily activities for Coast Guard personnel involved in vessel compliance activities. OCMIs use formal and informal assessments to balance workforce constraints with the need to facilitate a safe and efficient maritime industry. The types of SPVs and nature of operations vary greatly from small water taxis within a harbor to large, overnight ocean going vessels. Vessels are constructed of a variety of materials, use differing technology, and can be newly built or more than a century old. The associated probability of a marine casualty and the subsequent consequence to people, property and the environment likewisevaries greatly across the SPV fleet. Vessels that pose greater risk may receive greater Coast Guard oversight than corresponding vessels that pose a lower risk. Using various computational methods, machine learning-enabled software, and the Coast Guard’s database of deficiency and casualty information, the Office of Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) developed a model identifying high risk SPVs. The model evaluates numerous factors, including the compliance history, number of passengers carried, vessel type, vessel age, route, and history of vessels in related operations to identify vessels that have the greatest risk.

Beginning January 1, 2021, the results from the SPV risk model shall be used to prioritize SPV inspections. It is important to note that vessels determined to be high risk are not presumed to be non-compliant. Rather, these vessels were selected based on the specific vessel history and performance of similar vessels.

Policy letter 20-02 may be viewed in its entirety on the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance(CG-CVC) policy letter website.

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 publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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