A recent Coast Guard rule eliminates reporting requirements for relatively minor property damage incidents. The rule changes the monetary threshold for a reportable marine casualty involving property damage from $25,000 to $75,000, and changes the property damage threshold within the definition of a “Serious Marine Incident” (SMI) requiring chemical testing from $100,000 to $200,000. The changes are set to take effect April 18, 2018.

The final rule affects owners, agents, masters, operators, or persons in charge of commercial vessels who are required to submit form CG-2692 to the Coast Guard whenever a vessel is involved in a marine casualty, and form CG-2692B whenever crew members are required to complete drug and alcohol testing following an SMI. Changes to the marine casualty property damages threshold can be found in 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(7), and changes to the SMI property damage threshold can be found in 46 CFR 4.03-2(a)(3).

Reasons for the Change

The Coast Guard updated the threshold amounts to account for inflation. The original regulations have not been updated since they were enacted in the 1980’s. The changes will prevent vessel owners and operators from reporting on casualties involving relatively minor property damage that the Coast Guard deems insignificant. This is also an effort to reduce the administrative and financial burden on vessel owners, operators, and the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard expects the changes to result in a little over a 5% decrease in reportable marine casualty incidents, and around an 8% decrease in reportable SMI cases that require drug and alcohol testing.

Currently Limited to Commercial Vessels

The rule is limited to commercial vessels. Therefore, it does not extend to the reporting requirements for Outer Continental Shelf facilities under 33 CFR part 146. However, the Coast Guard stated that it will consider similar changes to OCS reporting in a future rulemaking.