Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Motorboat Act of 1940

This subject comes up from time to time - anyway - it's an interesting read regarding where we are today...

On April 25, 1940, Congress adopted the Motor Boat Act of 1940 amending and adding to the Motor Boat Act of 1910. `Motorboats' were defined in the Act as `every vessel propelled by machinery and not more that sixty-five feet in length except tugboats and towboats propelled by steam.' The Act established four classes of motorboats; prescribed requirements for navigational lights and sound-signaling devices; life-preservers (what today are called Personal Flotation Devices); fire extinguishers, backfire flame arrestors and bilge ventilation.

The Act established licensing requirements for the operator of a motorboat carrying passengers for hire and specifically stated that, `No person shall operate any motorboat or any vessel in a reckless of negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.' 54 Stat. 163.

In 1940, Congress amended the Revised Statutes `to provide for the safe carriage of explosives or other dangerous or semidangerous articles or substances on board vessels; to make more effective the provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1929, relating to the carriage of dangerous goods.' 54 Stat. 1023.

In February 1942, the functions relating to safety of life at sea, marine inspection, seamen's welfare and certain other maritime activities carried out by the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation were temporarily transferred from the Department of Commerce to the U.S. Coast Guard (by executive order) for the duration of the war and until six months after the end of hostilities. The Coast Guard was responsible for those safety matters that had been regulated by BMIN: Approval of plans for merchant ships and their equipment; inspection of vessels to check stability, fire control or fireproofing, life-saving and fire-fighting equipment; administration of load line requirements; administration and enforcement of the laws pertaining to the numbering of motor-boats and the issuance of certificates of inspection; examination, licensing, and certification of Merchant Marine personnel--masters, pilots, engineers, staff officers; investigation of marine casualties; preparation and publication of rules and regulations to protect passengers, officers, and crews of American ships; Merchant Marine Council activities; and the training of merchant mariners.

In 1946, pursuant to Executive Order 9083 and Reorganization Plan No. 3, the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation was abolished and became a permanent part of the Coast Guard under the Treasury Department.

1 comment:

Me said...

General Principles of marine inspection companies
The time-honoured way to test steel plating is by striking it with a hammer. The advantage of this test is
that it replicates a mild or moderate collision with flotsam, or a harbour wall, and so indicates whether
the stem, or plating or an A-bracket, or any vulnerable part, is strong enough to withstand this level of
impact. It is also an indication of how thick the steel is to an experienced independent marine surveyor. Hammer testing is
quick, reliable, inexpensive, repeatable, largely unaffected by survey conditions such as wet or windy
weather, and is good at establishing whether there is severe corrosion. Limitations include a lack of what
might be called “fine tuning” in that even a skilled surveyor can seldom detect such differences as 20%
or 40% rusting where the remaining plating still retains a good amount of sound steel. Hammer testing
is particularly useful down in the bilge where corrosion is common and often serious. Here it can be
difficult to get the steel surface clean enough to use an ultrasonic tester with confidence. Also there are
places so far down below the cargo surveyor Dubaithat he cannot hold a sonic transducer against the steel, whereas
he can strike effectively with a long-handled hammer. This technique is also good in other locations such
as in a chain locker where access is poor but the plating or framing is within reach of a hammer with a
long handle. Another feature of hammer testing is its simplicity. With ultrasonics an unfailing source of
electricity is essential, not to mention calibrating, recording, adjusting, and so on. There is nothing so
“bomb-proof” as a hammer, in contrast to an electronic instrument. A limitation to hammer testing is that
it can seldom be used on well-painted steel without written permission from the owner or his
representative. Hard epoxy paint is likely to be damaged by serious hammering. Even moderately
unenergetic hammering will destroy the paint on steel as it chips away the covering right down to the base
metal and, as a result, building up a new paint coat has to start with flatting off the old paint and
beginning with new primer, right through coating by coating, to the final high quality continuous finish.
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