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Old 01-07-2007, 20:19   #1
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Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel

Hi folks, does anyone know the process of getting a boat built to coast guard inspected specifications? Flynn Smith talked about it in his captains license class, but I am in New Zeland, and I cant remember what he said. Its a long distance call for a general question, so if anyone has any experience building an inspected vessel I would love to hear about it.

Collision bulkhead requirements and insulation seem to be the big questions for a steel boat. Any ideas, or a link to the requirements would be fantastic. Also want to know if they need to inspect during construction, or do it at the end. I remember being inspected on the Western Union, but that was just the periodic inspection, and I thought they had to have a look as you build the boat.

Also, I seem to remember him saying something about a limitation on bringing in a foregn boat as US flagged passegger vessel being a no-no. Its been a few years since the class and my brain is swiss cheese here.

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Old 01-07-2007, 22:20   #2
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Don't have the answer, but have seen some old Coast Guard "inspected" wooden vessels that sank because of rot and old age.

To take more than six paying passengers out on your boat, it may need to be "inspected", but I would avoid all that by staying at 6 souls or less.

Google should have plenty of info on the subject however.

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Old 02-07-2007, 02:45   #3
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There is a little more to it than bulkheads and insulation. It also covers hatches, ports, and more and all is dependent on how many passengers you want to carry. The boat will be inspected several times during construction. Any good naval arch can give you some guidance on the path to follow.
Non US built hulls can only be chartered as uninspected passenger vessels for 6 passengers or less if I recall correctly. It has been a few years since I had to deal with CG on builds.
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:13   #4
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Nor furrin charter boats

I believe it's the Jones Act that makes it illegal to use a foreign built vessel for commercial purposes in the States. The prohibition also applies to US built vessels that were owned/registered out of the US. You can get an exemption for foreign built boats, know of a Cheoy Lee offshore 40 that has an exemption. Don't think it's easy to do and may no longer be possible, the Cheoy Lee got it's exemption back in the '70s. There was a Merritt sport fishing boat here that had been owned by a Japanese National. He practically had to give it away when he got in financial difficulty as something about his ownership made it impossible to use the boat for charter.

As far as physical requirements for commercial vessels, don't think it's a big deal for 6 passengers or less. Once you go above that capacity, requirements get a lot more stringent.

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Old 02-07-2007, 12:13   #5
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I am always constantly surprised when it comes to the seemingly laxed requirements in the good ole US of sue ya pants off A.
Here in NZ, as soon as you do anything with your vessel for hire or reward, it is considered commercial and the vessel must meet some very stringent survey requirements. This includes inspection at time of build, although some materials maybe able to have that part passed afterward and some materials make that impossible. This is then continued with a yearly inspection on all saftey components and equipment and hull with a compleate shaft removale and inspection every so many years. Of course the level of inspection and requirements the vessel must meet also change in relation to the service the boat will do. A large fishing vessel Like Pete used to take out into the wild blue yonder had different requirments than say the charter yacht he skippers right now.
Pete, please jump in and give us more details on requirements. Tha'ts about the end of my knowledge on that one.

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Old 03-07-2007, 01:27   #6
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Same as above in Oz. All sorts of catagories and requirements whether inshore coastal etc day or overnight. Lots of inspections (annual) and associated costs. There is even a special certification for vessels taking passengers over the Gipps. lakes bar. (Good thing too see recent floods for gippsland) 147 000 megalitres overflow from one reservoir on one of seven rivers) all going out the one entrance. Amazingly someone tried to come in.....they didnt make it......
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Old 03-07-2007, 10:47   #7

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It is correct that you can not use a foreign built boat in the USA for commercial work, and it is true that you can get an exception to the rule.

The procedure for getting an excemption is to work with a member of congress who will attach a short "rider" to a funding bill making you boat a special case. You have to convince your member of congress that you are a worthy cause for the work involved. It might be more difficult if you cogessional district is in Kansas, or if you live in New Zealand and aren't likely to have an impact on the next re-election campaign.

My boat (Canadian bulit) went through this process when a previous owner bought the boat used intending to charter it and hadn't done the research he shopuld have before the purchase. His congressman took pity on him and attached the following statement to the annual funding bill:

That, nothwithstanding sectrions 12105, 12106, 12107 and 12108 of title 46, United States Code, and section 7 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 (46 App. U.S.C. 883), as applicable on the date of this Act, the Sectratary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may issue a certificate of documentation for the vessel HIPPOCAMPUS, United States offical number 560934
In the final bill there are several pages of these exemptions, so it is apparently not an unusual occurance. This was done several years ago, and the vessel has been out of commercial service for some time, but my annual Certificate of Documentation still includes under "Entitlements" the following "Special Legislation - Coastwise, Special Legislation - Fishery".

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Old 03-07-2007, 12:09   #8
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It really says Sectratary? Or are you typing it in and flubbed that spelling?

Alan, he say:
Here in NZ, as soon as you do anything with your vessel for hire or reward, it is considered commercial and the vessel must meet some very stringent survey requirements. This includes inspection at time of build, although some materials maybe able to have that part passed afterward and some materials make that impossible.
Let me get this straight: if you intend to use the vessel for commercial purposes, inspections occur during build (and later, I woud imagine). But if you later begin using a vessel as a commercial craft, you might have to go back and retro-fit changes to bring it up to standard? One certainly can't go back in time and have it inspected during build.
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:54   #9

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I would suggest you remember that you are dealing with a government and rule number one is: GET IT IN WRITING.

Send an email or letter to the governing authority, your Coast Guard or whoever it is, and ask them specifically what the process is and what regulations you must comply with. Then get a printed copy of the regulations, read them, get any clarifications you need, and start building.

Remember that new regulations often kick in on January 1st of any given year--so you'll also need to stay current on upcoming changes if any have been approved.

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