In 2002 Congress, authorized permanent positions for the Coast Guard's Passenger Vessel Safety Program. There is a Passenger Vessel Safety Specialist at each U.S. Coast Guard District Office and one at Sector San Juan.
The objective of the program is to enable the response community (U.S. Coast Guard, other Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as industry and other stake holders) to have processes and procedures to prevent, or if necessary, to respond to and mitigate a passenger vessel emergency, taking in account all available resources.
This program applies to both U.S. domestic passenger fleet and foreign flagged passenger vessels operating out of U.S. ports. The category of these vessels are:
U.S. domestic passenger vessel (built in accordance with 46 CFR Subchapters T, K and H;
Foreign flagged passenger vessels operating out of U.S. ports; and
Vessels carrying six (6) or fewer passengers in accordance with 46 CFR Subchapter C.
Passenger Vessel Safety Specialists are also available to provide assistance with regulatory matters affecting the passenger vessel industry. The full details of U.S. Coast Guard Passenger Vessel Safety, Prevention and Mass Rescue Operations Program is outlined in Commandant Instruction 16711.1