Governmental Regulation – United States

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PAGE CONTENTS
1 – Introduction
2 – USCG Boatbuilders Handbook
3 – United States Code
4 – Code of Federal Regulations
5 – SOLAS Convention
6 – MARPOL Convention
7 – Load Lines Convention
8 – IMCO Collision Regulations Treaty (72COLREGS)
9 – Hull Identification (HIN & MIC)
10 – NVIC (Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars)
11 – Governmental Regulation by States
NOTES: Page still under development

In the United States, Statutes include the United States Code (USC) especially Titles 33 and 46, and regulations such as the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) especially Titles 33 and 46.

USCG Boatbuilders Handbook

The USCG produced the following handbook to help boatbuilders comply with the Federal Requirements. Recreational boat owners, refitters and repairers will also benefit from the more the 600 pages of information contained in the handbook.

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CLICK HERE or the Cover above for the handbook’s contents, OR to view or download the USCG Boatbuilder’s Handbook as a PDF

United States Code

The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC) is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States. It contains 52 titles. The two titles of particular interest to mariners and the marine industry are Titles 33 and 46.

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation. While they may appear similar to the titles in the U. S. Code, they are NOT the same. The two titles of particular interest to mariners and the marine industry are Titles 33 and 46.

Within Title 33 is Subchapter S – Boating Safety which includes the following Parts:

173 – VESSEL NUMBERING AND CASUALTY AND ACCIDENT REPORTING
174 – STATE NUMBERING AND CASUALTY REPORTING SYSTEMS
175 – EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
177 – CORRECTION OF ESPECIALLY HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS
179 – DEFECT NOTIFICATION
181 – MANUFACTURER REQUIREMENTS
183 – BOATS AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
187 – VESSEL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM

NOTES: Most of Title 33 applies to recreational vessels as well.

Title 46 – SHIPPING contains the following pertinent Chapters, Subchapters and Parts:
Chapter I — Coast Guard, Department Of Homeland Security
^  Subchapter A — Procedures Applicable To The Public
^  ^  Part 1 — Organization, General Course And Methods Governing Marine Safety Functions
^  ^  Part 2 — Vessel Inspections
^  ^  Part 3 — Designation Of Oceanographic Research Vessels
^  ^  Part 4 — Marine Casualties And Investigations
^  ^  Part 5 — Marine Investigation Regulations—Personnel Action
^  ^  Part 6 — Waivers Of Navigation And Vessel Inspection Laws And Regulations
^  ^  Part 7 — Boundary Lines
^  ^  Part 8 — Vessel Inspection Alternatives
^  ^  Part 9 — Extra Compensation For Overtime Services
^  Subchapter B — Merchant Marine Officers And Seamen
^  ^  Part 10 — Merchant Mariner Credential
^  ^  Part 11 — Requirements For Officer Endorsements
^  ^  Part 12 — Requirements For Rating Endorsements
^  ^  Part 13 — Certification Of Tankermen
^  ^  Part 14 — Shipment And Discharge Of Merchant Mariners
^  ^  Part 15 — Manning Requirements
^  ^  Part 16 — Chemical Testing
^  Subchapter C — Uninspected Vessels
^  ^  Part 24 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 25 — Requirements
^  ^  Part 26 — Operations
^  ^  Part 27 — Towing Vessels
^  ^  Part 28 — Requirements For Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels
^  Subchapter D — Tank Vessels
^  ^  Part 30 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 31 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 32 — Special Equipment, Machinery, And Hull Requirements
^  ^  Part 34 — Firefighting Equipment
^  ^  Part 35 — Operations
^  ^  Part 36 — Elevated Temperature Cargoes
^  ^  Part 38 — Liquefied Flammable Gases
^  ^  Part 39 — Vapor Control Systems
^  Subchapter E — Load Lines
^  ^  Part 42 — Domestic And Foreign Voyages By Sea
^  ^  Part 44 — Special Service Limited Domestic Voyages
^  ^  Part 45 — Great Lakes Load Lines
^  ^  Part 46 — Subdivision Load Lines For Passenger Vessels
^  ^  Part 47 — Combination Load Lines
^  Subchapter F — Marine Engineering
^  ^  Part 50 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 52 — Power Boilers
^  ^  Part 53 — Heating Boilers
^  ^  Part 54 — Pressure Vessels
^  ^  Part 56 — Piping Systems And Appurtenances
^  ^  Part 57 — Welding And Brazing
^  ^  Part 58 — Main And Auxiliary Machinery And Related Systems
^  ^  Part 59 — Repairs To Boilers, Pressure Vessels And Appurtenances
^  ^  Part 61 — Periodic Tests And Inspections
^  ^  Part 62 — Vital System Automation
^  ^  Part 63 — Automatic Auxiliary Boilers
^  ^  Part 64 — Marine Portable Tanks And Cargo Handling Systems
^  Subchapter G — Documentation And Measurement Of Vessels
^  ^  Part 67 — Documentation Of Vessels
^  ^  Part 68 — Documentation Of Vessels: Exceptions To Coastwise Qualification
^  ^  Part 69 — Measurement Of Vessels
^  Subchapter H — Passenger Vessels
^  ^  Part 70 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 71 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 72 — Construction And Arrangement
^  ^  Part 76 — Fire Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 77 — Vessel Control And Miscellaneous Systems And Equipment
^  ^  Part 78 — Operations
^  ^  Part 80 — Disclosure Of Safety Standards And Country Of Registry
^  Subchapter I — Cargo And Miscellaneous Vessels
^  ^  Part 90 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 91 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 92 — Construction And Arrangement
^  ^  Part 93 — Stability
^  ^  Part 95 — Fire Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 96 — Vessel Control And Miscellaneous Systems And Equipment
^  ^  Part 97 — Operations
^  ^  Part 98 — Special Construction, Arrangement, And Other Provisions For
^  ^  ^  Certain Dangerous Cargoes In Bulk
^  ^  Part 105 — Commercial Fishing Vessels Dispensing Petroleum Products
^  Subchapter I-A — Mobile Offshore Drilling Units
^  ^  Part 107 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 108 — Design And Equipment
^  ^  Part 109 — Operations
^  Subchapter J—Electrical Engineering
^  ^  Part 110 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 111 — Electric Systems—General Requirements
^  ^  Part 112 — Emergency Lighting And Power Systems
^  ^  Part 113 — Communication And Alarm Systems And Equipment
^  Subchapter K—Small Passenger Vessels Carrying More Than 150 Passengers Or With
^  ^  ^  Overnight Accommodations For More Than 49 Passengers
^  ^  Part 114 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 115 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 116 — Construction And Arrangement
^  ^  Part 117 — Lifesaving Equipment And Arrangements
^  ^  Part 118 — Fire Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 119 — Machinery Installation
^  ^  Part 120 — Electrical Installation
^  ^  Part 121 — Vessel Control And Miscellaneous Systems And Equipment
^  ^  Part 122 — Operations
^  Subchapter L — Offshore Supply Vessels
^  ^  Part 125 — General
^  ^  Part 126 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 127 — Construction And Arrangements
^  ^  Part 128 — Marine Engineering: Equipment And Systems
^  ^  Part 129 — Electrical Installations
^  ^  Part 130 — Vessel Control, And Miscellaneous Equipment And Systems
^  ^  Part 131 — Operations
^  ^  Part 132 — Fire-Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 133 — Lifesaving Systems
^  ^  Part 134 — Added Provisions For Liftboats
^  Subchapter N — Dangerous Cargoes
^  ^  Part 147 — Hazardous Ships’ Stores
^  ^  Part 147a — Interim Regulations For Shipboard Fumigation
^  ^  Part 148 — Carriage Of Bulk Solid Materials That Require Special Handling
^  Subchapter O — Certain Bulk Dangerous Cargoes
^  ^  Part 150 — Compatibility Of Cargoes
^  ^  Part 151 — Barges Carrying Bulk Liquid Hazardous Material Cargoes
^  ^  Part 153 — Ships Carrying Bulk Liquid, Liquefied Gas, Or Compressed Gas Haz. Materials
^  ^  Part 154 — Safety Standards For Self-Propelled Vessels Carrying Bulk Liquefied Gases
^  Subchapter P — Manning Of Vessels [Reserved]
^  Subchapter Q — Equipment, Construction, And Materials: Specifications And Approval
^  ^  Part 159 — Approval Of Equipment And Materials
^  ^  Part 160 — Lifesaving Equipment
^  ^  Part 161 — Electrical Equipment
^  ^  Part 162 — Engineering Equipment
^  ^  Part 163 — Construction
^  ^  Part 164 — Materials
^  Subchapter R — Nautical Schools
^  ^  Part 166 — Designation And Approval Of Nautical School Ships
^  ^  Part 167 — Public Nautical School Ships
^  ^  Part 168 — Civilian Nautical School Vessels
^  ^  Part 169 — Sailing School Vessels
^  Subchapter S — Subdivision And Stability
^  ^  Part 170 — Stability Requirements For All Inspected Vessels
^  ^  Part 171 — Special Rules Pertaining To Vessels Carrying Passengers
^  ^  Part 172 — Special Rules Pertaining To Bulk Cargoes
^  ^  Part 173 — Special Rules Pertaining To Vessel Use
^  ^  Part 174 — Special Rules Pertaining To Specific Vessel Types
^  Subchapter T — Small Passenger Vessels (Under 100 Gross Tons)
^  ^  Part 175 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 176 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 177 — Construction And Arrangement
^  ^  Part 178 — Intact Stability And Seaworthiness
^  ^  Part 179 — Subdivision, Damage Stability, And Watertight Integrity
^  ^  Part 180 — Lifesaving Equipment And Arrangements
^  ^  Part 181 — Fire Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 182 — Machinery Installation
^  ^  Part 183 — Electrical Installation
^  ^  Part 184 — Vessel Control And Miscellaneous Systems And Equipment
^  ^  Part 185 — Operations
^  Subchapter U — Oceanographic Research Vessels
^  ^  Part 188 — General Provisions
^  ^  Part 189 — Inspection And Certification
^  ^  Part 190 — Construction And Arrangement
^  ^  Part 193 — Fire Protection Equipment
^  ^  Part 194 — Handling, Use, And Control Of Explosives And Other Hazardous Materials
^  ^  Part 195 — Vessel Control And Miscellaneous Systems And Equipment
^  ^  Part 196 — Operations
^  Subchapter V — Marine Occupational Safety And Health Standards
^  ^  Part 197 — General Provisions
^  Subchapter W — Lifesaving Appliances And Arrangements
^  ^  Part 199 — Lifesaving Systems For Certain Inspected Vessels
Chapter Ii — Maritime Administration, Department Of Transportation
Chapter Iii — Coast Guard (Great Lakes Pilotage), Department Of Homeland Security
Chapter Iv — Federal Maritime Commission

NOTES: Most of Title 46 applies only to commercial vessels.

The US has participated in the SOLAS, MARPOL, Load Line and Collision Regulations Conventions, and joined the resulting treaties.

SOLAS Convention

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety treaty. It ensures that ships flagged by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation. The Radio watchkeeping requirements are promulgated by it. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.

MARPOL Convention

MARPOL is short for marine pollution. MARPOL 73/78 (short for the years 1973 and 1978) is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions. It was designed to minimize pollution of the seas, including dumping, oil and exhaust pollution. Its stated object is to preserve the marine environment through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances and the minimization of accidental discharge of such substances. All ships flagged under countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to its requirements, regardless of where they sail and member nations are responsible for vessels registered under their respective nationalities.

Load Lines Convention

The International Convention on Load Lines (CLL) was signed in London on 5 April 1966, amended by the 1988 Protocol and further revised in 2003. The 1988 Protocol was adopted to harmonise the survey and certification requirement of the 1966 Convention with those contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and MARPOL 73/78.

According to the CLL 66/88, all assigned load lines must be marked amidships on each side of the ships engaged in international voyages. The determinations of the freeboard of ships are calculated and/or verified by classification societies which issue International Load Line Certificates in accordance with the legislation of participating States. This Convention provides for the terms of ship’s surveys, issuance, duration, validity and acceptance of International Load Line Certificates, as well as relevant State control measures, agreed exemptions and exceptions.

Annexes to the Convention contain various regulations for determining load lines, including details of marking and verification of marks, conditions of assignment of freeboard, freeboard tables and corrections, special provisions for ships intended for the carriage of timber and the prescribed form of International Load Line Certificates. Also taken into account are the potential hazards present in different zones and different seasons and additional safety measures concerning doors, hatchways etc.

IMCO Collision Regulations Treaty (72COLREGS)

Sometimes referred to as the Rules of the Road, the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea, 1972 (72COLREGS) are the Navigation Rules  (COLREGS when in International Waters or waters outside the COLREGS Demarcation Line or Inland Navigation Rules inside the Demarcation Lines) are regulations which aid mariners in safe navigation, just as driving laws aid vehicles in safe driving. Professional Mariners must be proficient in the Rules of the Road but all mariners should know and understand the Rules.  The Rules contain specific equipment design and capability requirements. The Rules are legally binding and application of them makes the waterways safer for everyone.

The International Rules were formalized in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, and became effective on July 15, 1977. The United States has ratified this treaty and all United States flag vessels must adhere to these Rules. President Ford proclaimed the 72 COLREGS and the Congress adopted them as the International Navigation Rules Act of 1977.

The 72 COLREGS were developed by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), which has since been renamed the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The IMO has adopted 86 amendments to the COLREGS, the most recent of which was in 2007.

Navrules_lgClick Here to view the latest version of the COLREGS


Under Development

Hull Identification (HIN & MIC)

More from USCG Manufacurers Identification Code (MIC) Database


NVIC (Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars)

A Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular provides detailed guidance about the enforcement or compliance with a certain Federal marine safety regulations and Coast Guard marine safety programs.  While NVIC’s are non-directive, meaning that they do not have the force of law, they are important “tools” for complying with the law.  Non-compliance with a NVIC is not a violation of the law in and of itself, however non-compliance with a NVIC may be an indication that there is non-compliance with a law, a regulation or a policy.

NVIC’s are used internally by the Coast Guard to ensure that inspections and other regulatory actions conducted by our field personnel are adequate, complete and consistent.  Likewise, mariners, the marine industry and the general public use NVIC’s as means of determining how the Coast Guard will be enforcing certain regulations or conducting various marine safety programs.  NVIC’s are issued by the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) and address a wide variety of subjects, including: vessel construction features; mariner training and licensing requirements; inspection methods and testing techniques; safety and security procedures; requirements for certain Coast Guard regulatory processes; manning requirements; equipment approval methods; and special hazards.

NVIC’s are numbered consecutively by year, e.g., NVIC 7-02 would be the seventh NVIC issued in 2002.  The “zero” NVIC, numbered 00, is always the index of NVIC’s in force or still current at the beginning of the calendar year.  For example, NVIC 00-07 is a list of all NVIC’s in effect as of January 1, 2007.

Click Here to see the complete listing of NVIC’s by year

More about NVIC from the USCG website: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvic/


Governmental Regulation by States

In addition to the federal laws and regulations, many individual states, districts, counties, and municipalities have their own laws, ordinances and regulations.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators offers a reference guide to promote greater uniformity in state boating laws and to facilitate the enforcement and administration of such laws. CLICK HERE to view the NASBLA Boating Law Manual Online.

Next section Under Development

See Directory of States below for additional laws, requirements, etc.

STATES
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Federal District
Washington, D.C.
US Territories
American Samoa
Guam
Northern Mariana Islands
Puerto Rico
US Virgin Island

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