33 CFR § 153.103 - Definitions.

§ 153.103 Definitions.

As used in this part:

(a) Act means the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

(b) CERCLA means the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.).

(c) Chemical agents means those elements, compounds, or mixtures that coagulate, disperse, dissolve, emulsify, foam, neutralize, precipitate, reduce, solubilize, oxidize, concentrate, congeal, entrap, fix, make the pollutant mass more rigid or viscous, or otherwise facilitate the mitigation of deleterious effects or removal of the pollutant from the water. The term “chemical agents” as used in this part includes dispersants, surface collecting agents, biological additives, burning agents, and sinking agents as defined in Subpart H of the National Contingency Plan.

(d) Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection means the Coast Guard Officer designated by the Commandant to assist and advise the Commandant on matters related to marine environmental response, port and environmental safety, and waterways management.

(e) Coastal waters means all U.S. waters subject to the tide, U.S. waters of the Great Lakes, specified ports and harbors on the inland rivers, waters of the contiguous zone, or other waters of the high seas subject to discharges in connection with activities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq.) or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), or which may affect natural resources belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States (including resources under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)). These waters include those contained within the Exclusive Economic Zone declared by Presidential Proclamation 5030 on March 10, 1983 (43 FR 10605).


Coastal waters are those waters where the Coast Guard has the responsibility for providing On-Scene Coordinators under the National Contingency Plan. Specific dividing lines between coastal and inland waters, and the identification of specified ports and harbors on inland rivers, are contained in Regional Contingency Plans prepared pursuant to the National Contingency Plan.

(f) Contiguous zone means the entire zone established by the United States under Article 24 of the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, as published in the June 1, 1972 issue of the Federal Register (37 FR 11906).

(g) Discharge includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping, but excludes (A) discharges in compliance with a permit under Section 402 of the Act, (B) discharges resulting from circumstances identified and reviewed and made part of the public record with respect to a permit issued or modified under Section 402 of the Act, and subject to a condition in such permit, and (C) continuous or anticipated intermittent discharges from a point source, identified in a permit or permit application under section 402 of the Act, which are caused by events occurring within the scope of relevant operating or treatment systems.

(h) Hazardous substance means any substance designated by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to section 311(b)(2) of the Act.

(i) Inland waters means all other waters of the U.S. not included in the definition of coastal waters.


Inland waters are those waters where the Environmental Protection Agency has the responsibility for providing On-Scene Coordinators under the National Contingency Plan. Specific dividing lines between coastal and inland waters are contained in Regional Contingency Plans prepared pursuant to the National Contingency Plan.

(j) Mechanical removal means the use of pumps, skimmers, booms, earthmoving equipment, and other mechanical devices to contain the discharge of oil and to recover the discharge from the water or adjoining shorelines.

(k) Navigable waters means the waters of the United States as defined in paragraph 2.36(b) of this Chapter.

(l) Offshore facility means any facility of any kind located in, on, or under, any of the navigable waters of the United States, and any facility of any kind which is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and is located in, on, or under any other waters, other than a vessel or a public vessel.

(m) Oil means oil of any kind or in any form, including but not limited to petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil.

(n) On-Scene Coordinator or OSC is the Federal official predesignated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Coast Guard to coordinate and direct Federal removal efforts at the scene of an oil or hazardous substance discharge as prescribed in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (National Contingency Plan) as published in 40 CFR Part 300.

(o) Onshore facility means any facility (including, but not limited to, motor vehicles and rolling stock) of any kind located in, on, or under, any land within the United States other than submerged land.

(p) Person includes an individual, firm, corporation, association, and a partnership.

(q) Pollution Fund and Fund means the revolving fund established in the Treasury under the authority in section 311(k) of the Act to carry out the provisions of section 311 (c), (d), (i), and (l) of the Act.

(r) Public vessel means a vessel owned or bare-boat chartered and operated by the United States, or by a State or political subdivision thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when such vessel is engaged in commerce.

(s) Remove or Removal refers to removal of oil or hazardous substances from the waters and shorelines or the taking of such other actions as may be necessary to minimize or mitigate damage to the public health or welfare, including, but not limited to, fish, shellfish, wildlife, and public and private property, shorelines, and beaches.

(t) Sorbent means materials essentially inert and insoluble used to remove oil from water through a variety of sorption mechanisms. Examples include straw, expanded perlite, polyurethane foam, reclaimed paper fibers, and peat moss.

(u) Such quantities as may be harmful means those quantities of oil and any hazardous substances determined in accordance with the provisions of section 311(b)(4) of the Act.


Regulations that relate to such quantities as may be harmful of oil are published in 40 CFR Part 110. Regulations that relate to such quantities as may be harmful (reportable quantities) of hazardous substances are published in 40 CFR Part 117 and also listed in 40 CFR Part 302.

(v) United States means the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

(w) Vessel means every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water other than a public vessel.

[CGD 84-067, 51 FR 17965, May 16, 1986, as amended by CGD 88-052, 53 FR 25121, July 1, 1988; CGD 96-026, 61 FR 33665, June 28, 1996; CGD 97-023, 62 FR 33363, June 19, 1997; USCG-2002-12471, 67 FR 41333, June 18, 2002; USCG-2008-0179, 73 FR 35014, June 19, 2008]