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Passenger Vessel Safety Program

Small Passenger Vessel

     USCG Vessel Inspection

SPV Requirements | International Voyage | ISM | Stability | Stream Line Inspection

U. S. small passenger vessels under 100 gross tons operating on navigable waterways of the United States are inspected for safety by the U. S. Coast Guard who also manages the licensing program for vessel personnel. Safety inspection information is provided below. More detailed information is provided on the Coast Guard's Homeport site (Domestic Vessels) and Coast Guard Headquarters Commercial Vessels Compliance CG-CVC-1. Please contact the Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI) that is closest to your a port. Port contacts are available under the Homeport Port Directory.

For vessels carrying 6 or fewer passengers, refer to Uninspected Passenger Vessels.

Is my vessel operation considered passengers for hire? Refer to USCG guidance NVIC 7-94.

Requirement Guides Top

International Voyages
The International Small Passenger Vessel Guide is designed to assist in preparing a vessel operator in obtaining an International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (PSSC) to operate between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, i.e. carrying more than 12 passengers. It can also be used by a vessel operating no more than 20 miles from land in another’s country’s waters. This document is not all-inclusive, nor is it intended to replace the regulations. You must always refer back to the U.S. and International Regulations to determine the exact requirements applicable to your vessel or operation. The guide and other related documents are located at USCG Homeport San Juan PR, Domestic Vessel Inspection Section.

SOLAS 2000 Amendments, regulation V/7.3 requires passenger ship operators to produce a Search and Rescue (SAR) plan based upon information for each vessel. The SAR plans will be made in accordance with the guidelines for co-operation between search and rescue services and passenger ships given in MSC/Circ. 1079 Simplified SAR Plan Template

International Safety Management (ISM) Top

ISM applies to vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter H, K and T that carry more than 12 passengers on an international voyage.  See 33 CFR Part 96 Rules for the safe operation of vessels and safety management systems.

Passenger Vessels on a domestic voyage are encouraged to participate in the program.  See the below extract for details on how the Voluntary ISM program applies to a domestic voyage.

The Coast Guard has established an equivalent to ISM Code compliance for small
passenger vessels certificated under subchapter “T” of Title 46 CFR that must comply with the requirements of the ISM Code.


Final Rule - Passenger Weight & Inspected Vessel Stability Requirements [PDF]


Evaluation of Stability and Subdivision for Small passenger vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter T.

Domestic vessel passenger weight. |
Federal Register December 14, 2010 Final Rule - Passenger Weight & Inspected Vsl. Stability Requirements [PDF]


Stream Line Inspection Program

The Streamlined Inspection Program (SIP) is a voluntary alternate method of inspecting a vessel to ensure regulatory compliance. The SIP may not be suited for every company. This program is intended for companies, regardless of size, which have an absolute commitment to safety and which employ capable and dedicated vessel operating personnel.  For more details click on the below link to Homeport (Missions > Domestic Vessels > Vessel Inspection Programs > SIP).


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Last Modified 4/22/2016