46 CFR 15.730 - Language requirements.
(a) The provisions of 46 U.S.C. 8702 relating to language apply generally to vessels of at least 100 GRT except:
(3) A fishing vessel, fish tender vessel, whaling vessel, or yacht;
(4) A sailing school vessel with respect to sailing school instructors and sailing school students;
(5) An oceanographic research vessel with respect to scientific personnel;
(6) A fish processing vessel which entered into service before January 1, 1988, and is not more than 1,600 GRT or which entered into service after December 31, 1987, and has not more than 16 individuals onboard primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products; and
(7) All fish processing vessels with respect to those personnel primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products or in a support position not related to navigation.
(b) 46 U.S.C. 8702(b) requires that onboard vessels departing U.S. ports 75 percent of the crew in each department onboard is able to understand any order spoken by the officers.
(c) The words able to understand any order spoken by the officers relates to any order to a member of the crew when directing the performance of that person's duties and orders relating to emergency situations such as used for response to a fire or in using lifesaving equipment. It is not expected that a member of the deck department understand terminology normally used only in the engineroom or vice versa.
(d) Whenever information is presented to the Coast Guard that a vessel fails to comply with the specified language requirements the Coast Guard investigates the allegation to determine its validity. In determining if an allegation is factual, the Coast Guard may require a demonstration by the officers and crew that appropriate orders are understood. The demonstration will require that orders be spoken to the individual members of the crew by the officers in the language ordinarily and customarily used by the officers. The orders must be spoken directly by the officer to the crew member and not through an interpreter. Signs, gestures, or signals may not be used in the test. The Coast Guard representative will specify the orders to be given and will include not only daily routine but orders involving emergencies, either of a departmental or of a general nature. This test will be conducted, if possible, at a time reasonably in advance of the vessel's departure, to avoid delays.