The U.S. Coast Guard has announced the availability of a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular concerning requirements for reporting marine casualties to the Coast Guard. The NVIC is intended to clarify which marine occurrences must be reported to the Coast Guard, by spelling out the Coast Guard’s interpretation of various regulatory sections and linking them to other related or referenced regulations. The guidance also details the Coast Guard’s procedure for evaluating incidents to determine which incidents come within the scope of the Coast Guard’s reporting requirements. While the very detailed NVIC may be helpful to those persons wishing to parse Coast Guard marine casualty reporting regulations, the basic guidance for mariners remains unchanged: if a person has any doubt whether an occurrence is a reportable marine casualty, the person should contact the nearest Coast Guard command center. The NVIC also mentions a less well-known, but equally important tip: persons making reports to the Coast Guard should contact the cognizant command center, rather than attempt to reach a specific marine investigator or inspector, because attempts to contact specific individuals could result in unintentional delays. The contact details for Coast Guard command centers can be found through the USCG Port Directory. A copy of the draft NVIC is attached here; the public is invited to comment on the draft guidance on or before April 14, 2014.

Click here to view the circular.