Inventory of Coast Guard Guidance Documents for Public Information

This page provides links to Coast Guard guidance documents. Guidance documents do not have the force and effect of law, and are not meant to bind the public in any way, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. They are intended to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements found in regulation or statute.

Office Category Description Hyperlink to Guidance Document
Assistant Commandant for Acquisition (CG-9) Acquisition Policy The Acquisition Directorate has responsibility for carrying out the service?s recapitalization program. (Keywords: Small Business, Competition, Contracting, Qualifications, Cutter, Life Cycle, Logistics, PPBE, Proposals, FAR) View Documents
National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) Publications and Guidance The NPFC certifies that oil-carrying vessels have the financial ability to pay in the case of an oil spill, and, when spills do occur, provides funding for quick response, compensates claimants for cleanup costs and damages, and takes action to recover costs from responsible parties. NPFC has developed publications and guidance to assist stakeholders involved in pollution clean up. (Keywords: User Guide, Claims, OSLTF, OPA, COFRs, Spill Response, Funding, Services, Forms, Publications, TOPS, URG, FOSC, Applications, Cost Documentation, Checklist, Payments, Trust Fund, Superfund, CERCLA, NRDA, Trustee, Responsible Party, Daubert Standard, Liability, Damages, FLAT, NCP) View Documents
Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) Homeport Internet Portal (HIP) The Homeport Internet Portal (HIP) was established in 2005 to facilitate compliance with the requirements set forth in the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. This site provides secure information dissemination, advanced collaboration, electronic submission and approval for vessel and facility security plans, and complex electronic and telecommunication notification capabilities. (Keywords: Port, Facility, Cargo, Waterfront, Waterways, Domestic Ports, Cyber Security, Sea Partners Program, Container, Security) View Documents
Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) Marine Safety Informational Bulletins (MSIB) Description: Marine Safety Informational Bulletins (MSIB) provide brief, concise, and timely information regarding changes in the maritime transportation system. (Keywords: Novel Coronavirus, Vessel Reporting Requirements for Illness or Death, Safety Management System, Parasailing, Cyber Adversaries, Non-Compliant Fuel Oil, Ballast Water Best Management Practices, Passenger Vessel Compliance and Operational Readiness, Ebola Virus, Cyber attack, NPREP Guidelines, Amphibious Passenger Vessels, Open Lifeboats, Oily Bilge Water) View Documents
Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVIC) Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars provide detailed guidance about the enforcement and/or compliance of marine safety regulations and marine safety programs. (Keywords: 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) View Documents
Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) Marine Safety Manual (MSM) - CIM 16000 The Marine Safety Manual presents the authority, background, and rationale to support Coast Guard marine safety objectives. (Keywords: Investigations, Enforcement, Ports, Waterways, Marine Environmental Response, Preparedness, Administration, Management, Marine Industry, Personnel, Material Inspections, Technical) View Documents
Marine Safety Center (MSC) Marine Technical Notes (MTNs) This Marine Safety Center page contains Marine Technical Notes which provide further guidance to Code of Federal Regulations, Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars, Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, and Coast Guard Regulations. (Keywords: Plan review, Vessel design, Equipment, Structure) View Documents
Marine Safety Center (MSC) Process Review Guides (PRGs) and Design Verification Guides (DVGs) This Marine Safety Center page contains Process Review Guides and Design Verification Guides which provide detailed information to stakeholders regarding engineering drawings, calculations, and documentation submitted to the Marine Safety Center for review and approval. (Keywords: Process Review Guides, PRG, Design Verification Guides, DVG, C1, Tank Vessel & Offshore, C2, E1, Engineering, Electrical, Machinery, E2, GEN, H1, Hull, H2, SOLAS) View Documents
Marine Safety Center (MSC) Tonnage Guides (TGs) This Marine Safety Center page contains Tonnage Guides which expand upon the process and procedures for simplified tonnage/dimensions, Navy tonnage/dimensions, Coast Guard tonnage/dimensions, general tonnage/dimensions, and registered tonnage/dimensions. (Keywords: tonnage, dimensions, simplified, general, registered, Navy, Coast Guard) View Documents
National Maritime Center (NMC) Credentialing Guidance The NMC is responsible for evaluating and issuing credentials in accordance with the statues and regulations which govern the Merchant Mariner Credentialing (MMC) program. (Keywords: Checklists, Examinations, Fees, Forms, Medical Certificate, Merchant Mariner Credential, MMC Evaluation, Policy & Regulations, Record Requests, Regional Exam Centers (REC), Safety & Suitability, Training & Assessment, TWIC, Application, Medical) View Documents
National Maritime Center (NMC) Policy Letters This National Maritime Center page contains policy letters which clarify: who is responsible for issuing credentials, what fully qualifies mariners, and how the Coast Guard ensures a safe, secure, economically viable, and environmentally-friendly Marine Transportation System. (Keywords: Merchant Mariner Credential, MMC, Medical Certificate, Original, Renewal, Endorsements, Operator, Officer, Master, Inspected, Uninspected, Passenger Vessel, Tank Vessel, Towing Vessel, Personnel, Sea Service, Uniformed Service, Endorsements, Mariners, Transportation Worker Identification Credential, TWIC, Training, Near Coastal, Oceans, Seafarers, Watchkeeping, Mate, Deck, Engine, Radar, Chief, Students, License, Fire Fighting, Basic Safety Training) View Document
National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) Instructions for Vessel Documentation This National Vessel Documentation Center site contains instructions and forms for facilitating vessel ownership and documentation. (Keywords: Vessel Documentation, exchange, reinstatement, return, replace, delete, certificate of documentation, Claim of Lien, Release of Mortgage, Owners, Limited Liability Company, LLC, Partnership, Joint Venture, Association, Trust, Builders Certificate, Bill of Sale) View Documents
National Center of Expertise, Cruise Ships Policy Letters The Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise (CSNCOE) is the repository of Coast Guard expertise and best practices on the FPVE program and is focused on raising the competency, capabilities, and consistency Coast Guard wide in the field of cruise ship safety, environmental, and security requirements and examinations. (Keywords: Policy, Guidelines, Cruise Ship, Passenger Ship, Safety, Security, Environmental protection) View Documents
National Center of Expertise, Outer Continental Shelf Policy Letters The Outer Continental Shelf├┐National Center of Expertise (OCSNCOE) is the repository of Coast Guard expertise and best practices on├┐Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activities. Like other NCOEs, the OCSNCOE is focused on raising the competency, capabilities and consistency of Coast Guard inspection/examination and oversight in our area of focus - OCS activities and the various types of units and vessels that conduct and support those activities. (Keywords: Policy, Guidelines, Outer Continental Shelf, OCS, MODU, Offshore Facility) View Documents
National Center of Expertise, Towing Vessels Policy Letters The Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise maintains trained experts in the towing vessel industry to serve as in-house consultants to the Coast Guard and as participants in technical forums and decision-making collaborations, provide technical advice to both the industry and the Coast Guard, and increase and maintain the Coast Guard's collective capacity, competence, and consistency to professionally engage with the towing vessel industry. (Keywords: Policy, Guidelines, Towing vessel, Safety, Security, Environmental protection) View Documents
Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-BSX) Boatbuilder's Handbook The information posted in these handbooks are for manufacturers of recreational vessels. Depending upon boat type, engine, length, usage, etc., a regulation (and corresponding guide) may, or may not, be applicable. (Keywords: boatbuilder, boat, recreational, manufacture, electrical, fuel, ventilation, boating safety) View Documents
Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-BSX) Boating Safety Circulars (BSC) This site contains important notices for the boating public in publications called Boating Safety Circulars. Content includes: advisories about newly identified boating hazards, information on boat defects, boat recalls, rules and regulations for recreational boats, and other news and information of interest to the boating community. (Keywords: advisories, hazards, defects, recalls, news, boating, boating community, safety, circulars) View Documents
Office of Bridge Programs Policy Letters The Coast Guard is responsible for approval of the location and plans of bridges and causeways constructed across navigable waters of United States In addition, the Coast Guard is responsible for approval of the location and plans of international bridges and the alteration of bridges found to be unreasonable obstructions to navigation. (Keywords: Bridges, Permitting, Bridge location) View Documents
Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Inspection Booklets, and Marine Inspection Notices (MIN) This Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance page contains Inspection Booklets and Marine Inspection Notices to aid the Coast Guard inspector in conducting marine inspection activities. Inspection Booklets provide a detailed checklist for marine inspectors. Marine Inspection Notices provide clarified and updated information for marine inspection activities. (Keywords: inspection booklets, marine inspection notices, barge, dry-dock, hull, machinery, offshore supply vessel, small passenger vessel, tankship) View Documents
Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) Policy Letters This Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance page contains policy letters regarding prevention activities, inspections (domestic vessels, foreign vessels, fishing vessels), and merchant mariner credentialing (MMC). (Keywords: Commercial vessel, Domestic vessels, Offshore vessels, Port state, Fishing vessel, Flag state, Towing vessel, Marine inspections) View Documents
Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG-ENG) Notices and Policy Letters This Office of Design and Engineering Standards site contains Notices and Policy Letters related to the safe design and construction of ships, shipboard equipment, hull structure, stability, electrical & mechanical systems, lifesaving & fire safety equipment, equipment approvals, and laboratory acceptance. (Keywords: Naval Architecture, System Engineering, Lifesaving and Fire Safety, Hazardous Materials, Lithium Batteries, Cyber Risk Management, Marine Vapor Control System, VCS, Portable Accommodation Module, PAM, Natural Gas, Hazardous and Noxious Liquid Substances, Fire Suppression, Lifeboat Releases, Extinguishing System, Helicopter Landing Areas, Distress Signal Devices) View Documents
Office of Marine Environmental Response (CG-MER) National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) Guidelines (Keywords: PREP 4C, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHMSA, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, BSEE, Department of the Interior, DOI, Area Contingency Plan, ACP, Geographic Response Plan, GRP, Geographic Response Strategy, GRS, Incident Management Team, IMT, National Incident Management Team, NIMT, Oil Spill Removal Organization, OSRO, Vessel Response Plan, VRP) View Documents
Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing (CG-MMC) Policy Letters This Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing page contains the policy and guidance regarding personnel qualifications, licensing, certification, and merchant mariner credentialing. (Keywords: maritime, security, TWIC, Credentials, mariner, National Maritime Center, Marine Transportation Systems, MTS, human element, training, watchkeeping, International Labour Organization, and labor) View Documents
Office of Operating and Environmental Standards (CG-OES) Policy Letters This Office of Operating and Environmental Standards site contains Policy Letters related to vessel and facility operating standards and environmental standards. Topics on this site focus on Ballast Water Management and Liquid Natural Gas Operations. (Keywords: Ballast Water, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Extension Enforcement Response Policy, Biofouling, Sediment, Aquatic Nuisance Species, Vessel Discharge, Deepwater Ports, Containers, Approved Continuous Examination Program (ACEP), Commercial Diving, OCS, Occupational safety) View Documents
Office of Operating and Environmental Standards (CG-OES) Third Party Environmental Contracting Handbook This handbook describes the voluntary program for the use of Third Party Contractors to assist the Maritime Administration and Coast Guard in processing applications for licensing Deepwater Ports. Keywords: Conformity Assessment, Third Party Organization, Deepwater port View Document
Office of Port and Facility Compliance (CG-FAC) Maritime Security and Port and Facility Compliance Policy Letters This Office of Port and Facility Compliance site contains Policy Letters related to ports, Deepwater ports, commercial onshore and offshore facilities, cargo safety, security and environmental protection compliance programs, international port security, and assessment programs. (Keywords: Maritime Security, Ports, Cargo, Environment, Deepwater ports) View Documents
Office of Standards Evaluation and Development (CG-REG) Small Entity Compliance Guides This Office of Standards Evaluations and Development site contains Small Entity Compliance Guides to assist small entities in complying with a published rule as specified by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. (Keywords: Small entity, Compliance, Guides, Regulations) View Documents