U.S. Coast Guard: What to Report and When

boat on rocks

By Captain Richard Madden 2016-07-03 18:58:38

Had a bad day? Maybe it wasn't as bad as the vessel above, but you know you need to give the nearest U.S. Coast Guard OCMI (Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection) or COTP (Captain of the Port) a call. Where do you start?  

Fortunately for those who have not had to make such reports in the past, the U.S. Coast Guard has provided guidance. Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-15  lays out the requirements for reportable incidents in accordance with 46 CFR Part 4. There are very specific reports - both immediately (generally by voice) and then written within five days.

Many a company has failed to adequately provide the immediate notification, which can lead to fines. As the fines are up to $32,500, this is sure to quickly gain the attention of company management. Vessel personnel can expect rapid modification of procedures for reporting of incidents when fines are levied.

Immediate does not mean instantaneous, however. It means "as soon as reasonably practicable without delay." In other words, take care of what needs to be taken care of to ensure the safety of crew, vessel and other safety concerns before stopping to call the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Command Center. It is highly recommended that the command center is utilized for these notifications instead of contacting a particular inspector, as it provides the opportunity for the fastest response.

In the event that the nearest U.S. Coast Guard OCMI or command center cannot be reached by telephone or radio, the National Response Center is certainly an option. In a pinch, ensuring a message is left or a particular inspector is contacted. This should fulfill the reporting requirements.  Just remember that you may be judged on how thorough your efforts were to make that initial voice report.

And the 2692 (the written report) has changed rather significantly. There is a brief video below that describes those changes. The current 2692, 2692A and 2692B can continue to be used until midnight on December 31, 2016. As many in the industry have these saved on board or on their personal equipment, ensuring an overlap is an excellent idea. Be aware that the changes are coming.

Having to file a U.S. Coast Guard 2692 or make the initial voice reports is not the end of the world. We may not relish the idea of the Coast Guard or company investigating the incident, but it is part of being a professional mariner. Trying to sweep an incident under the rug will rarely work out well. Check out the links below that include the guidance on required reporting both from Sector New Orleans and NVIC 01-15.

Let's be safe out there.

Additional Reading and Links

USCG: Commercial Vessels: Reportable Marine Casualty and what to do
USCG NVIC (Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular) No. 01-15: Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures with Associated Standard Interpretations
2692: Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty or OCS-related Casualty
2692A: Barge Addendum
2692B: Report of Mandatory Chemical Testing Following a Serious Marine Incident
2692C: Personnel Casualty Addendum
2692D: Involved Persons and Witnesses Addendum

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.