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Old 19-04-2019, 20:18   #1
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USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

Hi All,

Does a non-US flagged vessel operating in US waters have to comply with USCG requirements - ie, USCG approved PFDs?

Thanks
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Old 19-04-2019, 20:31   #2
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

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Originally Posted by Caddy Shack View Post
Hi All,

Does a non-US flagged vessel operating in US waters have to comply with USCG requirements - ie, USCG approved PFDs?

Thanks
I want to say no, but would fear it might be wrong. But if a yacht had to apply to every local requirement a circumnavigation would be next to impossible. In most other countries the you have to comply whith the rules where the yacht is registered.
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Old 20-04-2019, 07:00   #3
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

My guess is you'll never get a definitive answer on this. For example, if you have PFDs that are not US Coast Guard approved but you are wearing them, they are standard in other countries, and everything else you're doing is proper, then I'd very much doubt you'd get written up for that (or that the Coasties would even check). Now, if your boat is a complete safety wreck, they might certainly check everything and could ding you on that, too.
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Old 20-04-2019, 14:39   #4
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

Here is what the Code of Federal Regulations say:

Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations Section 175.1 defines when the rules (including lifejacket and equipment requirements) apply:

33 CFR 175.1. This part prescribes rules governing the use of boats on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and on the high seas beyond the territorial seas for boats owned in the United States except: (a) Foreign boats temporarily using waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
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Old 20-04-2019, 15:25   #5
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

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Originally Posted by slipaway View Post
Here is what the Code of Federal Regulations say:

Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations Section 175.1 defines when the rules (including lifejacket and equipment requirements) apply:

33 CFR 175.1. This part prescribes rules governing the use of boats on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and on the high seas beyond the territorial seas for boats owned in the United States except: (a) Foreign boats temporarily using waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
The CFR is really clear about how the Federal rules apply to foreign flagged vessels (they don't!), but....

There is another consideration that can confuse non-US citizens (and a lot of under educated US citizens too!), each individual state has its own rules regarding PFD and safety gear requirements. State rule writers might, or might not, have been sophisticated to incorporate an exemption for foreign flagged vessels.

Now... do they REALLY have the jurisdiction to impose their state rules on a foreign flagged vessel? I don't know...

On the flip side, for the actual enforcement, no police officer I have ever dealt with ever wrote a ticket based on such a technicality when the compliance with the spirit of the rule was so obvious. But there are always people who can piss off anybody.
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Old 20-04-2019, 23:06   #6
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

I thought that the IMO rules said that such equipment was to meet the requirements of the flag state, and that the UN signatory nations had to follow this ruling.

If I recall correctly, this was how the infamous "Section 21" rules in New Zealand were finally over ruled by their Supreme Court (those rules required foreign flag visiting yachts to submit to an inspection and show that they met all Category 1 ocean racing requirements before being allowed to check OUT of the country),

Now, explaining that to a redneck fisheries officer or water cop might be difficult, but I think the law is clear.

Jim
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Old 21-04-2019, 07:12   #7
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Re: USCG safety equipment requirements for non-US vessels?

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
Now... do they REALLY have the jurisdiction to impose their state rules on a foreign flagged vessel? I don't know...
No. The states can't impose their own carriage requirements on foreign vessels in US navigable (federal) waters. Certainly on sole-state waters like interior lakes they can. But not along the coast.

They can impose navigation rules; no-wake zones, for example.
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