We have had a lot of questions lately concerning Uninspected Passenger Vessels (UPV) and how we inspect them. This class of vessels does have to meet standards of safety and operation which are much more stringent than ordinary recreational boats. Here are a few of the new rules put forth by the CFRs along with items that are USCG requirements. At Key West Marine Surveyors we are not the Coast Guard but we will be looking at your vessel the same way they would but without the trouble, just recommendations from us.|
- Individuals operating UPVs must have a minimum of a OUPV (six-pack) license. In addition, a TWIC card is mandatory as well. Operator must carry his original license with him while serving as Master.
- Licensed individuals may not be required to work more than 12 of 24 hours at sea.
- A UPV of at least 5 net tons that engages in coastwise trade must have a Certificate of Documentation (COD) on board bearing a valid endorsement for the activity. In other words, your recreational status on the COD is not valid for UPV vessels. (Note: Original un-laminated document must be on board).
- The COD number must be marked on some clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. Must be permanently affixed, preceded by the abbreviation NO and presented in BLOCK type Arabic numerals not less than three inches in height.
- The name of the vessel must be marked on some clearly visible exterior part of the port and starboard bow and the stern. Hailing port must be visible on an exterior part of the stern. Letters must be at least four inches high.
Operators of Uninspected Passenger Vessels must comply with the dangerous drug testing policies of the US Coast Guard. This means compliance with pre-employment testing, random testing and reasonable cause testing. If you are unable to comply with every aspect about the mandatory drug testing rules, it may be best to join a drug testing consortium who will administer the program for you. If you are not in compliance with this requirement, chances you will be shut down until you do.
All marine casualties must be reported either verbally or in writing. UPV operators should familiarize themselves on this mandatory aspect of ownership and operation.
Vessel must have a VHF radio on board capable of transmitting on channels 16 and 22A. When outside certain areas a second VHF may be required.
CHARTS AND NAUTICAL PUBLICATIONS
All vessels must carry adequate and up-to-date charts of appropriate scale, US Coast Pilot, Coast Guard light list and tide tables. As an alternative you may substitute extracts or copies from the publications above but must be applicable to the area transited.
SAFETY INSTRUCTION AND ORIENTATION FOR PASSENGERS
- Navigation lights per COLREGS
- An adequate sound signal. Also a bell may be required if operating under inland rules.
- Garbage placard
- Waste management plan
- One TYPE 1 PFD for every person on board including children. Other types may be carried but do not count and must be stored away from the TYPE 1 PFDs.
- PFDs may be required to have a light on vessels operating outside inland areas.
- One orange throwable life ring of at least 20 inches diameter.
- EPIRB not required
- Visual Distress Signals (three day and three night)
- Proper marine firefighting equipment. Extinguishers must be type B, for marine use, and marked as such.
Prior to getting underway operators must ensure public announcements, placards or both be provided to passengers that address the following topics:
Operators shall insure that an emergency check off list is posted to a conspicuous and continually accessible place aboard. The checklist must include the following minimum information:
- Stowage location of PFDs
- Proper method of donning and adjusting life preservers
- The type and location of all lifesaving devices on board
- The location of the Emergency Check-off list
MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ROUGH WEATHER OR FOR CROSSING HAZARDOUS BARS:
MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVENT OF MAN OVERBOARD
- All water/weathertight hatches, doors, and airports closed to prevent shipping water.
- Bilges kept dry to prevent loss of stability.
- Passengers seated and evenly distributed.
- All passengers must wear life preservers during rough seas or bar crossing.
- Distress calls to the CG must be made if assistance is needed.
MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE AT SEA
- Ring buoy thrown as close as possible to PIW.
- Lookout posed to keep PIW in sight.
- Crewmember standing by in life jacket and tending line standing by to enter the water if necessary.
- CG and other vessels notified.
- Search continues until after radio consultation with the CG.
MARINE SANITATION DEVICES
- Cut off air supply to the fire by closing hatches, ports, doors and vents.
- Discharge portable extinguishers at base of fire
- If fire is in machinery spaces, any installed fixed firefighting systems discharged.
- Vessel maneuvered to minimize the effect of wind on the fire.
- CG and all vessels in the area must be notified.
- Passengers must be moved away from the fire, wearing life preservers.
OIL POLLUTION PREVENTION
- Type I, II, or III are required.
- Discharge valves must be secured when necessary.
UPVs 26 feet or more must have a placard posed in machinery spaces.
THE COAST GUARD ALSO RECOMMENDS ADDITIONAL SAFETY ITEMS BUT ARE NOT REQUIREMENTS:
The above listed requirements are posted on the Key West Marine Surveyors website as a guideline. Other requirements specific to some vessels should warrant further investigation.
- Safety training programs for all crew members for emergencies.
- Bilge pump and high water alarms.
- Back-up emergency communications.
- Survival Craft