Saturday, February 7, 2009

Inspected Wooden Passenger Vessels...

Interetsing exchange regarding the USCG approving a COI for a wood passenger vessel

Shame on you. You've gone and put the local Coast Guard inspectors in a very awkward and uncomfortable position. You are forcing them to inspect and hopefully approve your 60's era wood boats for the transportation of passengers. That makes them very nervous. Very few if any of them know what they are looking at when it comes to wood boat construction. They are not anxious to put their name on the line so-to-speak. So, they are taking the first fall back position by requiring you to prove that the vessels were built to an approved standard. They of course are hoping (with fingers crossed) that you can't satisfy this requirement. So, in advance of the next set of hoops and hurdles that they will place in front of you consider doing the following prior to inspection/review:1. Have repair/maintemance records at the ready.2. Renew any suspect hull penetrations and related fasteners. Including anything to do with your rudder and steering.3. Have all the necessary PFD's passable and stored in easy access lockers or benches (labeled), with a certain percentage for children (I forget the ratio).4. Have plenty of signage directing passengers in the event of an emergency.5. Have a fire plan of sorts and plenty of current fire extinguishers. They may require you to have a fire suppression system installed in your engine compartment that can be actuated from more than one location.6. Have a suitable means of retrieving a "man over board" and proof that you have practice drills. 7. Make sure that you have all the necessary venting of spaces and tanks. Probably Stainless Steel mesh over the bell fittings on your fuel tank vent(s). They may want to see some type of berm or coaming around your fuel fill(s). The list goes on and perhaps you already have these items already working for you. Non-the- less, remember that they don't want to see your wooden boats carrying passengers on their waterway and they will most likely make it very difficult for you. Good luck.

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