A Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) provides detailed guidance about the enforcement or compliance with a certain Federal marine safety regulations and Coast Guard marine safety programs. While NVIC's are non-directive, meaning that they do not have the force of law, they are important "tools" for complying with the law. Non-compliance with a NVIC is not a violation of the law in and of itself, however non-compliance with a NVIC may be an indication that there is non-compliance with a law, a regulation or a policy.
NVIC's are used internally by the Coast Guard to ensure that inspections and other regulatory actions conducted by our field personnel are adequate, complete and consistent. Likewise, mariners, the marine industry and the general public use NVIC's as means of determining how the Coast Guard will be enforcing certain regulations or conducting various marine safety programs. NVIC's are issued by the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) and address a wide variety of subjects, including: vessel construction features; mariner training and licensing requirements; inspection methods and testing techniques; safety and security procedures; requirements for certain Coast Guard regulatory processes; manning requirements; equipment approval methods; and special hazards.
NVIC's are numbered consecutively by year, e.g., NVIC 7-02 would be the seventh NVIC issued in 2002. The "zero" NVIC, numbered 00, is always the index of NVIC's in force or still current at the beginning of the calendar year. For example, NVIC 00-07 is a list of all NVIC's in effect as of January 1, 2007.