President signs CG Bill into Law

Statement by the White House Press Secretary

On Monday, February 08, 2016, the President signed into law:  H.R. 4188, the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015,” which (1) authorizes FYs 2016 and 2017 appropriations and amends laws related to the Coast Guard; (2) authorizes FYs 2016 and 2017 appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission; and (3) amends various other maritime-related provisions of law;

A Public Law Number will be assigned soon.

To All NACO Members:

We are extremely pleased to provide the above info to you.  H.R.4188, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, includes Sec 301 which replaces Sec 301 of the Coast Guard Act of 2010.  This is known as the out of the water survival craft regulation and the new language eliminates the 2010 requirement and places the responsibility of required safety equipment back into the hands of the USCG, the experts on vessel, crew, and passenger safety.

In June of 2011 NACO took the lead to organize a coalition of Regional and National Passenger Vessel Associations to work with Congress to change a requirement that mandated all USCG Certified Passenger Vessels to carry out of the water survival craft.  The 2010 USCG Appropriations Act included this requirement which would have eliminated the use of the Life Floats most of these vessels have historically carried.  After over 4 years of combined hard work by NACO and our partners working with Congress on February 1, 2016 we finally achieved success as the House passed HR 4188, the USCG Authorization Act of 2015, which includes Sec 301 that supersedes  the 2010 requirement.  Most, if not all USCG COI Passenger Vessels will now be allowed to operate with the same safety equipment we have always used.  Our efforts result in a significant cost savings for the owners of these USCG COI vessels and also eliminate an additional regulatory burden.

We have calculated the approximate savings for these vessel owners.  Keep in mind that NACO membership is only $50.00 per year.  The savings listed below are based on a 48’ charter fishing vessel that is certified to carry 18 passengers.  With a crew of 4 this vessel would have had to have a 25 person out of the water survival craft which weighs almost 400 pounds.  Depending on where the survival craft is located the vessel may require a launching device and because of the extra weight of both a stability test may be required.  After the 2nd year the inflatable would require yearly servicing at an approved facility meaning the vessel would not be able to sail while the inflatable is off the vessel.  In addition to the initial costs, the yearly reinspection costs, the potential costs of a stability test, and potential costs of a launching device, the USCG required monthly safety drills would also include a drill to pretend to launch the inflatable in case of an emergency. 

All costs are approximate and based on the maximum costs since some route requirements may require less expensive inflatables.

25 person Inflatable fully equipped                        $8,000.00

Launching device                                                 $1,750.00

Yearly reinspection                                              $2,000.00

New vessel stability test                                       $3,000.00

Total                                                                 $14,750.00

NACO efforts to ease the regulatory burdens and costs due to the legislation we helped to pass have saved the USCG COI vessel owner several thousand dollars and eased the monthly drill reporting process.  The figures above will vary depending on the vessel passenger capacity, route, and other factors.  In addition, our efforts to reduce the burdens on USCG COI vessels work to prevent similar requirements on all passenger vessels, inspected or not. 

This effort is just one example of the many benefits of membership in NACO.  Clearly, the $50.00 per year membership fee is one of the best bargains a for hire passenger vessel owner can find.  

NACO has worked over 4 years with other industry partners to have the current legislation passed and signed into law.  The 2010 regulation was going to create unnecessary expenses and regulatory burdens on the small passenger vessel industry.  The effort we have provided on behalf of our members will save thousands of dollars immediately and for many in the future.



CONGRESS APPROVES USCG AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2015 (H.R.4188), sends to the President to sign

NACO is pleased to announce that on Monday evening, February 1, we achieved one of our greatest accomplishments for NACO members and the For-Hire Industy.  The passage of the USCG Bill includes language that eliminates the 2010 requirement that all USCG certified passenger vessels that carry more than 6 passengers must replace required life floats with out of the water survival craft.  The 2010 requirement was to go into effect on February 26th.

Section 301 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, when signed into law, will supersede the current requirement mandating all COI vessels to install out of the water survival craft.  That requirement was originally enacted in the year 2010.  In June of 2011 NACO contacted the other National and Regional Passenger Associations to form a coalition to work to change the 2010 law.  NACO and our partners worked overtime since then to convince Congress to reconsider its decision.  Although some familiar with Congressional activities said we would not succeed, our persistence and unity of action persevered.

The last step is for the President to sign H.R. 4188.  Congress will deliver the bill to the White House in a few days.  Once it arrives there, the President will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or simply let it become law without his signature.  There is no indication that the President will veto the legislation. 

Once H.R. 4188 (including section 301) becomes law a large number of NACO vessel owners will be relieved of the out of the water survival craft mandate of the 2010 law.  Current Coast Guard regulations specifying the type of survival craft (life floats, IBAs, etc.) applicable to a specific vessel will continue unchanged.