Houston Tugboat Injury Lawyer

Houston maritime injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP keep up with changes in maritime law that affect our clients.

Subchapter M has significantly modified the safety rules that apply to the tugboat and maritime towing industry.  Our offshore injury lawyers are analyzing all parts of Subchapter M.

Part 136 of Subchapter M, copied below, contains definitions as well as the Certificate of Inspection requirements.

If you or a loved one has been injured while working offshore, in a port or river, or on the high seas, please contact us now at 1-800-489-2216 for a free case evaluation.

PART 136—CERTIFICATION

Subpart A—General

Sec.

136.100 Purpose.

136.105 Applicability.

136.110 Definitions.

136.112 Incorporation by reference.

136.115 Equivalents.

136.120 Special consideration.

136.130 Options for obtaining certification of a towing vessel

136.140 Application for a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

136.145 Inspection for certification.

136.150 Annual and periodic inspections.

136.165 Certificate of Inspection: conditions of validity.

136.170 Compliance for the Coast Guard option.

136.175 Approved equipment.

136.180 Appeals.

 

Subpart B—Certificate of Inspection

136.200 Certificate required.

136.203 Compliance for the TSMS option.

136.205 Description.

136.210 Obtaining or renewing a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

136.215 Period of validity.

136.220 Posting.

136.225 Temporary certificate.

136.230 Routes permitted.

136.235 Certificate of Inspection (COI) amendment.

136.240 Permit to proceed.

136.245 Permit to carry excursion party or temporary extension or alternation of route.

136.250 Load lines.

 

Authority: 46 U.S.C. 3103, 3301, 3306, 3308, 3316, 8104, 8904; 33 CFR 1.05; DHS

Delegation 0170.1.

 

Subpart A—General

  • 136.100 Purpose.

This part sets out the applicability for subchapter M and describes the requirements for obtaining and renewing a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

  • 136.105 Applicability.

(a) This subchapter is applicable to all U.S.-flag towing vessels as defined in § 136.110 engaged in pushing, pulling,

or hauling alongside, except:

(1) A vessel less than 26 feet (8 meters) in length measured from end to end over the deck (excluding the sheer), unless pushing, pulling, or hauling a barge that is carrying dangerous or hazardous materials;

(2) A vessel engaged in one or more of the following:

(i) A vessel used for assistance towing;

(ii) A vessel towing recreational vessels for salvage; or

(iii) A vessel transporting or assisting the navigation of recreational vessels within and between marinas and marina facilities, within a limited geographic area, as defined by the local Captain of

the Port (COTP).

(3) Work boats operating exclusively within a worksite and performing intermittent towing within the worksite;

(4) Seagoing towing vessels over 300 gross tons subject to the provisions of Subchapter I of this chapter;

(5) A vessel inspected under other subchapters of this chapter that may perform occasional towing;

(6) A public vessel that is owned or bareboat chartered and operated by the United States, or by a State or political subdivision thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when the vessel is engaged in commercial service.

(7) A vessel which has surrendered its Certificate of Inspection (COI) and is laid up, dismantled, or otherwise out of service; and

(8) A propulsion unit used for the purpose of propelling or controlling the direction of a barge where the unit is controlled from the barge, not normally manned, and not utilized as an independent vessel.

(b) A vessel that is otherwise exempt from inspection may request application of this part.

  • 136.110 Definitions.

ABS Rules means the standards developed and published by the American Bureau of Shipping regarding the design, construction and certification of commercial vessels.

Accepted Safety Management System means a safety management system deemed by the Coast Guard to be equivalent to the requirements of this subchapter.

Accommodation space means any:

(1) Messroom;

(2) Lounge;

(3) Sitting area;

(4) Recreation room;

(5) Quarters;

(6) Toilet space;

(7) Shower room;

(8) Galley;

(9) Berthing space;

(10) Clothing-changing room; and

(11) A similar space open to individuals.

Approved third party means a third party approved by the Coast Guard in accordance with part 139 of this subchapter.

Assistance towing means towing a disabled vessel for consideration.

Audit means a systematic, independent, and documented examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve stated objectives. This examination includes a thorough review of appropriate reports, documents, records and other objective evidence to verify compliance with applicable requirements.

(1) The audit may include, but is not limited to:

(i) Examining records;

(ii) Asking responsible persons how they accomplish specific tasks;

(iii) Observing persons performing required tasks;

(iv) Examining equipment to insure proper maintenance and operation; and

(v) Checking training records and work environments.

(2) The audit may be limited to random selection of a representative sampling throughout the system that presents the auditor with sufficient objective evidence of system compliance.

Berthing space means a space that is intended to be used for sleeping and isprovided with installed bunks and

bedding.

Bollard pull means the maximum static pulling force that a towing vessel can exert on another vessel or an objectwhen its propulsion engines are applying thrust at maximum horsepower.

Change in ownership means any change resulting in a change in the dayto-day operational control of an approved third party organization that conducts audits and surveys, or a change that results in a new entity holding more than 50 percent of the ownership of the approved third party organization.

Class Rules means the standards developed and published by a classification society regarding the design, construction and certification of commercial vessels.

Class II piping systems means those piping systems identified as class II in Table 56.04–2 of Subchapter F of this Chapter.

Coastwise means a route that is not more than 20 nautical miles offshore on any of the following waters:

(1) Any ocean;

(2) The Gulf of Mexico;

(3) The Caribbean Sea;

(4) The Bering Sea;

(5) The Gulf of Alaska; or

(6) Such other similar waters as may be designated by a Coast Guard District Commander.

Cold water means water where the monthly mean low water temperature is normally 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) or less.

Conflict of Interest means a conflict between an individual’s or an organization’s private interests and the interests of another party with whom they are providing a service to or for, or in a capacity which serves the public good.

Consideration means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit. including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.

Crewmember means all persons carried on board the vessel to provide navigation and maintenance of the vessel, its machinery, systems, and arrangements essential for propulsion and safe navigation, maintaining the tow, or to provide services to other persons aboard and shall not be construed as controlling the status of any person carried on board for purposes of 46 U.S.C. 30104.

Deficiency means a failure to meet minimum requirements of the vessel inspection laws or regulations.

Disabled vessel means a vessel that needs assistance, whether docked, moored, anchored, aground, adrift, or under way, but does not mean a barge or any other vessel not regularly operated under its own power.

Downstreaming means approaching a moored barge from upstream and landing with tow knees square against the upstream end of the barge.

Drydock means hauling out a vessel or placing a vessel in a drydock or slipway for an examination of all accessible parts of the vessel’s underwater body and all through-hull fittings and appurtenances.

Element means a component of the safety management system, including policies, procedures, or documentation required to ensure a functioning towing safety management system.

Engine room means the enclosed area where any main-propulsion engine is located. It comprises all deck levels within that area.

Essential system means a system that is required to ensure a vessel’s survivability, maintain safe operation, control the vessel, or ensure safety of on-board personnel, including systems for:

(1) Detection or suppression of fire;

(2) Emergency dewatering or ballast management;

(3) Navigation;

(4) Internal and external communication;

(5) Vessel control, including propulsion, steering, maneuverability and their essential auxiliaries (e.g., lube oil, fuel oil, cooling water pumps, machinery space ventilation);

(6) Emergency evacuation and abandonment;

(7) Lifesaving;

(8) Control of a tow; and

(9) Any other marine engineering system identified in an approved Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) identified by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) as essential to the vessel’s survivability, maintaining safe operation, controlling the vessel, or ensuring safety of onboard personnel.

Excepted vessel means a towing vessel that is:

(1) Used solely for any one or combination of the following services:

(i) Within a limited geographic area, such as a fleeting area for barges or a commercial facility, and used for restricted service, such as making up or breaking up larger tows;

(ii) For harbor-assist;

(iii) For response to emergency or pollution; or

(2) Exempted by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI).

Existing towing vessel means a towing vessel, subject to inspection under this subchapter, that is not a new towing vessel, as defined in this section.

External Audit means an audit conducted by a party with no direct affiliation to the vessel or owner or managing operator being audited.

Fixed fire-extinguishing system means:

(1) A carbon dioxide system that satisfies 46 CFR subpart 76.15 and is approved by the Coast Guard;

(2) A manually operated, clean agent system that satisfies National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 2001 (incorporated by reference in § 136.112 of this subchapter) and is approved by the Coast Guard; or

(3) A manually operated, water mist system that satisfies NFPA Standard 750 (incorporated by reference in § 136.112 of this part) and is approved by the Coast Guard.

Fleeting area means a limited geographic area where individual barges are moored or assembled to make a tow. The barges are not in transport, but are temporarily marshaled and waiting for pickup by different vessels that will transport them to various destinations.

Fully attended means that a person who is appropriately trained to monitor and operate engineering equipment is located in the engine room at all times while the vessel is underway.

Galley means a space containing appliances with cooking surfaces that may exceed 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) uch as ovens, griddles, and deep fat fryers.

Great Lakes means a route on the waters of any of the Great Lakes and of the St. Lawrence River as far east as a straight line drawn from Cap de Rosiers to West Point, Anticosti Island, and west of a line along the 63rd meridian from Anticosti Island to the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Gross Tons means the gross ton measurement of the vessel under 46 U.S.C. chapter 145, Regulatory Measurement. For a vessel measured under only 46 U.S.C. chapter 143, Convention Measurement, the vessel’s gross tonnage measured under 46 U.S.C. chapter 143 is used to apply all thresholds expressed in terms of gross tons.

Harbor of Safe Refuge means a port, inlet, or other body of water normally sheltered from heavy seas by land and in which a vessel can navigate and safely moor. The suitability of a location as a harbor of safe refuge will be determined by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection, and varies for each vessel, dependent on the vessel’s size, maneuverability, and mooring gear.

Harbor-assist means the use of a towing vessel during maneuvers to dock, undock, moor, or unmoor a vessel or to escort a vessel with limited maneuverability.

Horsepower means the horsepower stated on the Certificate of Inspection (COI), which is the sum of the manufacturer’s listed brake horsepower for all installed propulsion engines.

Independent means the equipment is arranged to perform its required function regardless of the state of operation, or failure, of other equipment.

Inland Waters means the navigable waters of the United States shoreward of the Boundary Lines as described in 46 CFR part 7, excluding the Great Lakes and, for towing vessels, excluding the Western Rivers.

Internal Audit means an audit that is conducted by a party which has a direct affiliation to the vessel or owner or managing operator being audited.

International Voyage means a voyage between a country to which SOLAS applies and a port outside that country. A country, as used in this definition, includes every territory for the international relations of which a contracting government to the convention is responsible or for which the United Nations is the administering authority. For the U.S., the term ‘‘territory’’ includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, all possessions of the U.S., and all lands held by the U.S. under a protectorate or mandate. For the purposes of this subchapter, vessels are not considered as being on an ‘‘international voyage’’ when solely navigating the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River as far east as a straight line drawn from Cap des Rosiers to West Point, Anticosti Island and, on the north side of Anticosti Island, the 63rd meridian.

Lakes, bays, and sounds means a route on any of the following waters:

(1) A lake other than the Great Lakes;

(2) A bay;

(3) A sound; or

(4) Such other similar waters as may be designated by the cognizant Coast Guard District Commander.

Length means the horizontal distance measured from end to end over the deck, excluding the sheer. Fittings and attachments are not included in the length measurement.

Limited coastwise means a route that is not more than 20 nautical miles from a harbor of safe refuge.

Limited geographic area means a local area of operation, usually within a single harbor or port. The local Captain of the Port (COTP) determines limited geographic areas for each zone.

Machinery space means any enclosed space that either contains an installed, internal combustion engine, machinery, or systems that would raise the ambient temperature above 45 degrees Celsius in all environments the vessel operates in.

Major conversion means a conversion of a vessel that, as determined by the Coast Guard, substantially changes the dimensions or arrying capacity of the vessel, changes the type of vessel, substantially prolongs the life of the vessel, or otherwise changes the vessel such that it is essentially a new vessel.

Major non-conformity means an identifiable deviation which poses a serious threat to personnel, vessel safety, or a serious risk to he environment, and requires immediate corrective action, including the lack of effective and systematic implementation of a requirement of the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS).

Managing operator means an organization or person, such as the manager or the bareboat charterer of a vessel, who has assumed he responsibility for operation of the vessel from the ship owner and who, on assuming responsibility, has agreed to take over all he duties and responsibilities imposed by this subchapter.

New towing vessel means a towing vessel, subject to inspection under this subchapter, that:

(1) Was contracted for, or the keel which was laid on or after, [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE];

(2) Underwent a major conversion that was initiated on or after [EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE]; or

(3) Is built without a contract, the keel laying date will be used to determine applicability.

Non-conformity means a situation where objective evidence indicates a non-fulfillment of a specified requirement.

Objective evidence means quantitative or qualitative information, records, or statements of fact pertaining to safety or to the existence and implementation of a safety management system element, which is based on observation, measurement, or testing that can be verified. This may include, but is not limited to towing gear equipment certificates and maintenance documents, training records, repair records, Coast Guard documents and certificates, surveys, or class society reports.

Oceans means a route that is more than 20 nautical miles offshore on any of the following waters:

(1) Any ocean;

(2) The Gulf of Mexico;

(3) The Caribbean Sea;

(4) The Bering Sea;

(5) The Gulf of Alaska; or

(6) Such other similar waters as may be designated by the cognizant Coast Guard District Commander.

Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) means an officer of the Coast Guard designated as such by the Coast Guard and who, under the direction of the Coast Guard District Commander, is in charge of a marine inspection zone, described in part 3 of this chapter, for the performance of duties with respect to the inspection, enforcement, and administration of vessel safety and navigation laws and regulations. The ‘‘cognizant OCMI’’ is the OCMI who has immediate jurisdiction over a vessel for the purpose of performing the duties previously described.

Oil or hazardous materials in bulk, as used in this subchapter, means that the towing vessel tows, pushes, or hauls alongside tank barge(s) certificated under subchapters D or O of this chapter.

Operating station means the principal steering station on the vessel, or the barge being towed or pushed, from which the vessel is normally navigated.

Owner means the owner of a vessel, as identified on the vessel’s certificate of documentation or state registration.

Policy means a specific statement of principles or guiding philosophy that demonstrates a clear commitment by management; a statement of values or intent that provides a basis for consistent decision making.

Power and lighting circuit means a branch circuit as defined in NFPA 70–2002–National Electric Code (NEC) (incorporated by reference in § 136.112 of this subchapter) Article 100 that serves any essential system, a distribution panel, lighting, motor or motor group, or group of receptacles. Where multiple loads are served, the circuit is considered to be the conductor run that will carry the current common to all the loads. ‘‘Power limited circuit’’ conductors under Article 725 of the NEC and ‘instrumentation’’ conductors under Article 727 of the NEC are not considered to be power and lighting circuits.

Pressure vessel means a closed tank, cylinder or vessel containing gas, vapor or liquid, or a combination thereof, under pressure.

Procedure means a specification of a series of actions, acts, or operations which must be executed in the same manner in order to achieve a uniform approach to compliance with applicable policies.

Propulsor means a device (e.g., propeller, water jet) which imparts force to a column of water in order to propel a vessel, together with any equipment necessary to transmit the power from the propulsion machinery to the device (e.g., shafting, gearing, etc.).

Recognized Classification Society means the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) or other classification society recognized by Coast Guard in accordance with Part 8 of this chapter.

Recognized hazardous conditions means conditions that are:

(1) Generally known among persons in the towing industry as causing, or likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to persons exposed to those conditions; and

(2) Routinely controlled in the towing industry.

Rivers means a route on any river, canal, or other similar body of water designated by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection.

Safety Management System means a structured and documented system enabling owner or managing operator and vessel personnel to effectively implement the owner or managing operator’s safety and environmental protection policies and that is routinely exercised and audited in a way that ensures the policies and procedures are incorporated into the daily operation of the vessel.

Skiff means a small auxiliary boat carried onboard a towing vessel.

SOLAS means the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended.

Survey means an examination of the vessel, its systems and equipment to verify compliance with applicable regulations, statutes, conventions, and treaties.

Terminal gear means the additional equipment or appurtenances at either end of the hawser or tow cable that connect the towing vessel and tow together and may include such items as pendants and bridles.

Third-party organization means an organization approved by the Coast Guard to conduct independent verification that Towing Safety Management Systems or towing vessels comply with applicable requirements contained in this subchapter.

Tow means a combination of a towing vessel and one or more barges or a vessel not under its own power.

Towing vessel means a commercial vessel engaged in or intending to engage in the service of pulling, pushing, or hauling along side, or any combination of pulling, pushing, or hauling alongside.

Towing Vessel Record (TVR) means a book, notebook, or electronic record used to document events required by this subchapter.

Travel time means the time that it takes for a crewmember to proceed to the towing vessel, inclusive of periods spent on commercial and noncommercial carriers, transferring between carriers, layovers, and other delays.

Unsafe practice means a habitual or customary action or way of doing something which creates significant risk of harm to life, property, or the marine environment; or which contravenes a recognized standard of care contained in law, regulation, applicable international convention or international, national or industry consensus standard.

Warm water means water where the monthly mean low water temperature is normally more than 15 degrees Celsius (59 Fahrenheit).

Western Rivers means the Mississippi River, its tributaries, South Pass, and Southwest Pass, to the navigational demarcation lines dividing the high seas from harbors, rivers, and other inland waters of the United States, and the Port Allen-Morgan City Alternate Route, and that part of the Atchafalaya River above its junction with the Port Allen-Morgan City Alternate Route ncluding the Old River and the Red River, and those waters specified in 33 CFR 89.25.

Workboat means a vessel that pushes, pulls, or hauls alongside equipment including dredging, construction, maintenance, or repair equipment within a worksite.

Worksite means an area specified by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) within which workboats are operated over short distances for dredging, construction, maintenance, or repair work and may include shipyards, owner’s yards, or lay-down areas used by marine construction projects.

Work space means any area on the vessel where the crew may be present while on duty and performing their assigned tasks.

  • 136.112 Incorporation by reference.

Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. To enforce any edition other than that specified in this section, the Coast Guard must publish notice of change in the Federal Register and the material must be available to the public.

All approved material is available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal regulations/ibr_locations.html. Also, it is available for inspection at U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG–521), 2100 Second Street, SW., Washington, DC 20593– 0001, and is available from the source listed in paragraph (b) of this section. (b) The material approved for incorporation by reference in this part and the sections affected are:

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269–9101

NFPA 750—Standard on Water Mist Fire Protection Systems, 2006 …………………………………………………………………………………… 136.110

NFPA 2001—Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, 2008 ………………………………………………………………………….. 136.110

NFPA 70–2002–National Electric Code (NEC), 2002 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 136.110

International Maritime Organization (IMO), 4, Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7SR, United Kingdom

Resolution A. 520(13), Code of Practice for the Evaluation, Testing and Acceptance of Prototype Novel Life-Saving Appliances

and Arrangements, 1983 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 136.115

  • 136.115 Equivalents.

(a) The Coast Guard may approve any arrangement, fitting, appliance, apparatus, equipment, calculation, information, or test, which provides a level of safety equivalent to that established by specific provisions of this subchapter. Requests for approval must be submitted to the Coast Guard via the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI). If necessary, the Marine Safety Center may require engineering evaluations and tests to demonstrate the equivalence of the substitute.

(b) The Coast Guard may accept compliance with the provisions of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended, applicable to the vessel’s size and route as an equivalent to compliance with applicable requirements of this subchapter. Requests for a determination of equivalency for a particular vessel must be submitted to the Marine Safety Center via the cognizant OCMI.

(c) The Coast Guard may approve a novel lifesaving appliance or arrangement as an equivalent if it has performance characteristics at least equivalent to the appliance or arrangement required under this subchapter and has been evaluated and tested under International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution A.520(13) (incorporated by reference by § 136.112 of this part), Code of Practice for the Evaluation, Testing and Acceptance of Prototype Novel Life- Saving Appliances and arrangements.

(d) The Coast Guard may accept alternative compliance arrangements in lieu of specific provisions of the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) for the purpose of determining that an equivalent safety management system is in place onboard a vessel. The Coast Guard may consider the size and corporate structure of a vessel’s management when determining the acceptability of an equivalent system. Requests for determination of equivalency must be submitted to Coast Guard via the cognizant OCMI.

(e) Alternate compliance arrangements must be documented within the TSMS applicable to the vessel.

  • 136.120 Special consideration.

Based on review of relevant information and the Towing Safety Management System applicable to the vessel, the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) who issues the Certificate of Inspection may give special consideration to authorizing departures from the specific requirements, when unusual circumstances or arrangements warrant such departures and an equivalent level of safety is provided.

  • 136.130 Options for obtaining certification of a towing vessel.

(a) TSMS or annual Coast Guard inspections. This subchapter provides two options for obtaining a Certificate of Inspection for a towing vessel. The first option is annual inspection of the towing vessel by the Coast Guard, as discussed in §§ 136.150 through 136.165, part 137, and parts 140 through 144. The second option is to comply with the requirements for use of a towing safety management system (TSMS) and for use of approved third parties, as discussed in § 136.210 and parts 137 through 144 of this subchapter. Regardless of the option chosen, the Coast Guard is responsible for issuing a towing vessel Certificate of Inspection and may board a vessel at any time to verify compliance and take appropriate action. An owner or operator choosing the annual inspection option under §§ 136.150 through 136.170 may use a management system, vessel operations manual, or logbook to meet this subchapter’s recordkeeping requirements.

(b) Specifying option. When submitting an application for a Certificate of Inspection, the owner or operator must specify which option he or she chooses for each particular towing vessel. Owners or operators may choose separate options for separate vessels within their fleet.

(c) Changing option. Requests to change options during the period of validity of an existing Certificate of Inspection must be accompanied by a new application to the OCMI for a new Certificate of Inspection. If the requirements for the new option are met, the OCMI will issue the vessel a new Certificate of Inspection.

(d) Drydock examinations. The option chosen for obtaining a vessel’s Certificate of Inspection does not impact the frequency of required drydock examinations. Underwater inspections in lieu of a drydock (UWILD) can be used to obtain a Certificate of Inspection regardless of which option is chosen.

  • 136.140 Application for a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

Owners and operators must submit a written application for an inspection for certification to the cognizant OCMI. To renew a Certificate of Inspection (COI), owners and operators must submit an application at least 30 days before the expiration of the towing vessel’s current certificate. Form CG–3752, Application for Inspection of U.S. Vessel, must be submitted to the OCMI at or nearest to the port where the vessel is located. When renewing a COI, the owner or operator must schedule an inspection for certification within the 3 months before the expiration date of the current COI.

  • 136.145 Inspection for certification.

(a) Frequency of inspections. After receiving an application for inspection, the OCMI will inspect a towing vessel located in his or her jurisdiction at least once every 5 years. The OCMI must ensure that every towing vessel is of a structure suitable for its intended route.

If the OCMI deems it necessary, he or she may direct the vessel to be put in motion and may adopt any other suitable means to test the towing vessel and its equipment.

(b) Nature of inspections. The inspection for certification will include an inspection of the structure, pressure vessels, machinery and equipment. The inspection will ensure that the vessel is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which it is intended, and that it complies with the applicable regulations for such vessels. It will include inspections of the structure, pressure vessels and their appurtenances, piping, main and auxiliary machinery, electrical installations, lifesaving appliances, fire detecting and extinguishing equipment, pilot boarding equipment, and other equipment. The inspection will also determine that the vessel is in possession of a valid certificate issued by the Federal Communications Commission, if required. The inspector will also examine the vessel’s lights, means of making sound signals, and distress signals, to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. The inspector will also examine the vessel’s pollution prevention systems and procedures.

(c) Time of issuance of Certificate of Inspection. The OCMI will issue a vessel a new Certificate of Inspection upon completing the inspection for certification.

  • 136.150 Annual and periodic inspections.

(a) Annual inspection. A towing vessel subject to subchapter M and choosing the Coast Guard option, or required to have the Coast Guard option, must undergo an annual inspection within 3 months before or after each anniversary date, except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

(1) Owners and operators must contact the cognizant OCMI to schedule an inspection at a time and place which he or she approves. No written application is required.

(2) Annual inspections will be similar to the inspection for certification but will cover less detail unless the cognizant marine inspector finds deficiencies or determines that a major change has occurred since the last inspection. If the cognizant marine inspector finds deficiencies or that a major change to the vessel has occurred, he or she will conduct a more detailed inspection to ensure that the vessel is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which it is intended. If the vessel passes the annual inspection, the marine inspector will endorse the vessel’s current Certificate of Inspection.

(3) If the annual inspection reveals deficiencies in a vessel’s maintenance, the owner or operator must make any or all repairs or improvements within the time period specified by the OCMI.

(4) Nothing in this subpart limits the marine inspector from conducting such tests or inspections he or she deems necessary to be assured of the vessel’s seaworthiness.

(b) Periodic inspection. If an owner or operator chooses the Coast Guard inspection option, his or her vessel must undergo a periodic inspection within 3 months before or after the second or third anniversary of the date of the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection. This periodic inspection will take the place of an annual inspection.

(1) Owners and operators must contact the cognizant OCMI to schedule an inspection at a time and place the OCMI approves. No written application is required.

(2) The scope of the periodic inspection is the same as that for the inspection for certification, as specified in § 136.145. The OCMI will ensure that the vessel is in satisfactory condition and fit for the service for which it is intended. If the vessel passes the periodic inspection, the marine inspector will endorse the vessel’s current Certificate of Inspection.

(3) If the periodic inspection reveals deficiencies in a vessel’s maintenance, the owner or operator must make any or all repairs or improvements within the time period specified by the OCMI.

(4) Nothing in this subpart limits the marine inspector from conducting such tests or inspections he or she deems necessary to be assured of the vessel’s seaworthiness.

  • 136.165 Certificate of Inspection: conditions of validity.

To maintain a valid Certificate of Inspection, an owner or operator who chooses the Coast Guard option must complete the annual and periodic inspections within the periods specified in § 136.150(a) and (b), and the cognizant OCMI must endorse the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection.

  • 136.170 Compliance for the Coast Guard option.

All owners or managing operators of more than one towing vessel required to have a Certificate of Inspection (COI) by this subchapter and choosing the Coast Guard inspection option, must ensure that each vessel under their ownership or control is issued a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI) according to the following schedule:

(a) Within 3 years of the effective date of this subchapter, 25 percent of the towing vessels must have onboard valid COIs;

(b) Within 4 years of the effective date of this subchapter, 50 percent of the towing vessels must have onboard valid COIs;

(c) Within 5 years of the effective date of this subchapter, 75 percent of the towing vessels must have onboard valid COIs; and

(d) Within 6 years of the effective date of this subchapter, 100 percent of the towing vessels must have onboard valid COIs.

  • 136.175 Approved equipment.

Where equipment in this subchapter is required to be of an approved type, such equipment requires the specific approval of the Coast Guard. A listing of approved equipment and materials may be found online at http://cgmix.uscg. mil/equip/default.aspx. Each Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) may be contacted for information concerning approved equipment and materials.

  • 136.180 Appeals.

Any person directly affected by a decision or action taken under this subchapter, by or on behalf of the Coast Guard, may appeal in accordance with § 1.03 in subchapter A of this chapter.

Subpart B—Certificate of Inspection

  • 136.200 Certificate required.

(a) A towing vessel may not be operated without having onboard a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI) issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

(b) Each towing vessel certificated under the provisions of this subchapter must be in full compliance with the terms of the COI.

(c) If necessary to prevent delay of the vessel, a temporary COI may be issued to a towing vessel pending the issuance and delivery of the regular COI. The temporary COI must be carried in the same manner as the regular COI and is equivalent to the regular COI that it represents.

(d) A towing vessel on a foreign voyage between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country, whose COI expires during the voyage, may lawfully complete the voyage without a valid COI provided the voyage is completed within 30 days of expiration and the certificate did not expire within 15 days of sailing on the foreign voyage from a U.S. port.

  • 136.203 Compliance for the TSMS option.

All owners or managing operators of more than one towing vessel required to have a Certificate of Inspection (COI) by this subchapter must ensure that each vessel under their ownership/control is issued a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI) according to the following schedule:

(a) Within 1 year of issuance of the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) Certificate under § 138.305 of this subchapter, 25 percent of the towing vessels under their ownership/control must have onboard valid COIs;

(b) Within 2 years of issuance of the TSMS Certificate under § 138.305 of this subchapter, 50 percent of the towing vessels under their ownership/control must have onboard valid COIs;

(c) Within 3 years of issuance of the TSMS Certificate under § 138.305 of this subchapter, 75 percent of the towing vessels under their ownership/control must have onboard valid COIs; and

(d) Within 4 years of issuance of the TSMS Certificate under § 138.305 of this subchapter, 100 percent of the towing vessels under their ownership/control must have onboard valid COIs.

  • 136.205 Description.

A towing vessel’s Certificate of Inspection describes the vessel, route(s) that it may travel, minimum manning requirements, minimum safety equipment carried, horsepower, and other information pertinent to the vessel’s operations as determined by the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection.

  • 136.210 Obtaining or renewing a Certificate of Inspection (COI).

(a) A Certificate of Inspection (COI) is obtained or renewed through the U.S. Coast Guard by making application to the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) of the marine inspection zone in which the towing vessel is principally operated, or in which the owner or managing operator maintains management offices.

(b) The following documentation must be submitted:

(1) A completed Form CG 3752, ‘‘Application for Inspection of U.S. Vessel’’;

(2) Objective evidence that the owner or managing operator and vessel are in compliance with the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) requirements of part 138 of this subchapter if a TSMS is applicable to the vessel;

(3) For initial certification—

(i) Objective evidence that the vessel’s structure and stability, and essential systems comply with the applicable requirements contained in this subchapter for the intended route and service. This objective evidence may be in the form of a report issued by an approved third party or other means acceptable to the Coast Guard; and

(ii) Vessel particular information.

(4) For vessels utilizing the TSMS option, objective evidence that the vessel is equipped, maintained, and surveyed in compliance with §§ 137.200 and 137.300 of this subchapter; and

(5) A description of any modifications to the vessel.

(c) A towing vessel currently classed by a recognized classification society will be deemed to be in compliance with the design, construction, stability, equipment, and survey requirements of this subchapter.

(d) A towing vessel with a valid load line certificate issued in accordance with Subchapter E of this chapter may be deemed in compliance with the structural, drydocking, and stability requirements of this subchapter. The frequency of drydockings must meet the standards set forth in § 137.310 of this subchapter.

(e) A towing vessel with a valid International Safety Management Code certificate issued by a recognized classification society will be deemed in compliance with the TSMS requirements of this subchapter.

  • 136.215 Period of validity.

(a) A Certificate of Inspection (COI) for a towing vessel is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.

(b) A COI is invalid upon the expiration or revocation of the owner or managing operator Towing Safety Management System Certificate or International Safety Management Code Certificate.

(c) A COI may be suspended and withdrawn or revoked by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection at any time for noncompliance with the requirements of this subchapter.

  • 136.220 Posting.

(a) The original Certificate of Inspection (COI) must be framed under glass or other transparent material and posted in a conspicuous place onboard the towing vessel.

(b) If posting is impractical, such as in an open boat, the COI must be kept onboard in a weathertight container and readily available.

  • 136.225 Temporary certificate.

If necessary to prevent delay of the towing vessel, a temporary Certificate of Inspection (COI), Form CG–854, may be issued by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI), pending the issuance and delivery of the regular COI. Such temporary COI must be carried in the same manner as the regular COI.

  • 136.230 Routes permitted.

(a) The area of operation for each towing vessel and any necessary operational limits are determined by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) and recorded on the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection (COI). Each area of operation, referred to as a route, is described on the COI under the major headings ‘‘Oceans,’’ ‘‘Coastwise,’’ ‘‘Limited Coastwise,’’ ‘‘Great Lakes,’’ ‘‘Lakes, Bays, and Sounds,’’ or ‘‘Rivers,’’ as applicable. Further limitations imposed or extensions granted are described by reference to bodies of waters, geographical points, distances from geographical points, distances from land, depths of channel, seasonal limitations, and similar factors.

(b) Operation of a towing vessel on a route of lesser severity than those specifically described or designated on the COI is permitted unless expressly prohibited on the COI. The general order of severity of routes is: Oceans; coastwise; limited coastwise; Great Lakes; lakes, bays, and sounds; and rivers. The cognizant OCMI may prohibit a vessel from operating on a route of lesser severity than the primary route on which a vessel is authorized to operate, if local conditions necessitate such a restriction.

(c) When designating a permitted route or imposing any operational limits on a towing vessel, the cognizant OCMI may consider:

(1) The route-specific requirements of this subchapter;

(2) The performance capabilities of the vessel based on design, scantlings, stability, subdivision, propulsion, speed, operating modes, maneuverability, and other characteristics;

(3) The suitability of the vessel for nighttime operations and use in all weather conditions;

(4) Vessel operations in globally remote areas or severe environments not covered by this subchapter. Such areas may include, but are not limited to, polar regions, remote islands, areas of extreme weather, and other remote areas where timely emergency assistance cannot be anticipated; and

(5) The Towing Safety Management System applicable to the vessel, if the vessel has a TSMS.

  • 136.235 Certificate of Inspection (COI) amendment.

(a) An amended Certificate of Inspection (COI) may be issued at any time by the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI). The amended COI replaces the original, but the expiration date remains the same as that of the original. An amended COI may be issued to authorize and record a change in the dimensions, gross tonnage, owner, managing operator, manning, persons permitted, route permitted, conditions of operations, or equipment of a towing vessel, from that specified in the current COI.

(b) A request for an amended COI must be made to the cognizant OCMI by the owner or managing operator of the towing vessel at any time there is a change in the character of the vessel or in its route, equipment, ownership, operation, or similar factors specified in its current COI.

(c) Prior to the issuance of an amended COI, the cognizant OCMI may require that the owner or managing operator of the towing vessel provide an audit report. The report must:

(1) Be from an approved third-party organization and prepared in accordance with parts 138 and 139 of this subchapter; and

(2) Consider the change in the character of a vessel or in its route, equipment, ownership, operation, or similar factors specified in its current COI.

  • 136.240 Permit to proceed.

Permission to proceed to another port for repairs may be required for a towing vessel that is no longer in compliance with its Certificate of Inspection (COI). This may include damage to the vessel, failure of an essential system, or failure to comply with a regulation, including failure to comply with the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) requirements, if appropriate.

(a) The vessel may proceed to another port for repair, if:

(1) In the judgment of the owner, managing operator, or master, the trip can be completed safely;

(2) If utilizing a TSMS, the TSMS addresses the condition of the vessel that has resulted in non-compliance and the necessary conditions under which the vessel may safely proceed to another port for repair;

(3) If utilizing a TSMS, the vessel proceeds as provided in the TSMS and does not tow while proceeding unless the owner or managing operator determines that it is safe to do so; and

(4) The owner or managing operator must notify the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) in whose zone the non-compliance occurs or is discovered before the vessel proceeds and any other OCMI zones through which the vessel will transit.

(b) If utilizing a TSMS and this TSMS does not address the condition of the vessel that has resulted in noncompliance and the necessary conditions under which the vessel may safely proceed to another port for repair, the owner, managing operator, or master must apply to the cognizant OCMI in whose zone the non-compliance occurs or is discovered for permission to proceed to another port for repairs as follows:

(1) The application may be made electronically, in writing, or verbally. The cognizant OCMI may require a written description, damage surveys, or other documentation to assist in determining the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance;

(2) The vessel will not engage in towing, unless the cognizant OCMI determines it is safe to do so; and

(3) The permit may be issued by the Coast Guard on Form CG–948, ‘‘Permit to Proceed to Another Port for Repairs,’’ or in letter form and will state the conditions under which the vessel may proceed to another port for repair.

(c) The cognizant OCMI may require inspection of the vessel by a Coast Guard Marine Inspector or examination by an approved third-party surveyor prior to the vessel proceeding.

  • 136.245 Permit to carry excursion party or temporary extension or alternation of route.

(a) A towing vessel must obtain approval to engage in an excursion prior to carrying a greater number of persons than permitted by the Certificate of Inspection (COI) or a temporary extension or alteration of area of operation.

(b) The vessel may engage in an excursion, if:

(1) In the opinion of the owner, managing operator, or master the operation can be undertaken safely;

(2) If utilizing a TSMS, the TSMS addresses the temporary excursion operation contemplated, the necessary conditions under which the vessel may safely conduct the operation, including the number of persons the vessel may carry, the crew required, and any additional lifesaving or safety equipment required;

(3) If utilizing a TSMS, the vessel proceeds as provided in the TSMS; and

(4) The owner, managing operator, or master notifies the cognizant Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) at least 48 hours prior to the temporary excursion operation. The cognizant OCMI may require submission of the pertinent provisions of the TSMS applicable to the vessel for review and onboard verification of compliance. If the cognizant OCMI has reason to believe that the TSMS applicable to the vessel is insufficient for the intended excursion, additional information requested and/or additional requirements may be imposed.

(c)(1) If a TSMS applicable to the vessel does not address the temporary excursion operation, then the owner or managing operator must submit an application to the cognizant OCMI. The application must state the intended route, number of passengers or guests, and any other conditions applicable to the excursion that exceed those specified in the COI.

(2) The cognizant OCMI may issue Form CG–949, ‘‘Permit To Carry Excursion Party’’ or a letter. The cognizant OCMI will indicate on the permit the conditions under which it is issued, the number of persons the vessel may carry, the crew required, any additional lifesaving or safety equipment required, the route for which the permit is granted, and the dates on which the permit is valid. The application may be made electronically, in writing, or verbally.

(d) The vessel may not engage in towing during the excursion, unless the cognizant OCMI determines it is safe to do so.

(e) The cognizant OCMI may require inspection of the vessel by a Coast Guard Marine Inspector, or examination by an approved third party.

  • 136.250 Load lines.

Each towing vessel operating outside the Boundary Line (as set forth in 46 CFR part 7) is subject to Subchapter E

‘‘Load Lines’’ as follows:

(a) On international voyages: If 79 feet (24 meters) or more in length and built on or after July 21, 1968, or 150 gross tons and over if built before that date;

(b) On domestic voyages, including Great Lakes: If 79 feet (24 meters) or more in length and built on or after January 1, 1986, or 150 gross tons and over if built before that date.

Contact Our Houston Jones Act Lawyers Now To Preserve Your Legal Rights

If you or a loved one has been injured, or if a loved one has died, offshore, on the high seas, or on a navigable waterway, please contact us now to preserve your legal rights.

You may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act or maritime law.