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46 U.S. Code § 3301 - Vessels subject to inspection

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The following categories of vessels are subject to inspection under this part:
freight vessels.
nautical school vessels.
offshore supply vessels.
passenger vessels.
sailing school vessels.
seagoing barges.
seagoing motor vessels.
small passenger vessels.
steam vessels.
tank vessels.
fish processing vessels.
fish tender vessels.
Great Lakes barges.
oil spill response vessels.
towing vessels.

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source section (U.S. Code)

























Section 3301 lists all classes of vessels that are subject to inspection and certification by the Coast Guard. This section represents one of the sought-after advantages of the bill to simplify access to the provisions of law governing the regulation of vessels. Under the present law, a vessel’s inspection status must be determined by examining a table appearing at section 2.01–7A of title 46, Code of Federal Regulations that divides all vessels into more than 70 separate classes.

It is important to note that while the classes of vessels are now limited to ten, there is no prohibition against developing regulations to meet the special needs of various size vessels within any one category. For example, it is expected that the Coast Guard will continue the practice of establishing standards for freight vessels of not more than 100 gross tons and other standards for larger freight vessels.

It should also be noted that a particular vessel can, when engaged in various types of operations, be subject to varying inspection laws. For example, an offshore supply vessel could be classed as a small passenger vessel or a passenger vessel when it operates as a crew boat carrying individuals other than those defined in section 2101(21). If the offshore supply vessel is 500 gross tons and over it would then be subject to inspection as a seagoing motor vessel, a freight vessel, or a passenger vessel.

Editorial Notes

2004—Par. (15). Pub. L. 108–293 added par. (15).

1996—Par. (14). Pub. L. 104–324 added par. (14).

1992—Par. (13). Pub. L. 102–587 added par. (13).

1984—Pars. (11), (12). Pub. L. 98–364 added pars. (11) and (12).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 1992 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 102–587 effective Nov. 4, 1992, for Great Lakes barges placed in operation after Nov. 4, 1992, and effective one year after Nov. 4, 1992, for Great Lakes barges in operation on Nov. 4, 1992, with provision for interim safety requirements, see section 5208(c), (d) of Pub. L. 102–587, set out as a note under section 2101 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective Apr. 15, 1984, see section 2(g)(1) of Pub. L. 98–89, set out as a note under section 3101 of this title.

Pilot Program

Pub. L. 105–383, title IV, § 412(b), Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3432, provided that:

“(1) In general.—The Secretary may establish a pilot program to exempt a vessel of at least 300 gross tons as measured under chapter 143 or chapter 145 of title 46, United States Code, from the requirement to be inspected under section 3301(7) of title 46, United States Code, as a seagoing motor vessel, if—
the vessel does not carry any cargo or passengers for hire;
the vessel does not engage in commercial service, commercial fisheries, or oceanographic research; and
the vessel does not engage in towing.
“(2) Expiration of authority.—
The authority to grant the exemptions under this subsection expires 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 13, 1998]. Any specific exemptions granted under this subsection shall nonetheless remain in effect.”
Small Passenger Vessel Pilot Inspection Program With State of Minnesota

Pub. L. 104–324, title XI, § 1122, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3979, provided that:

“(a) In General.—The Secretary may enter into an agreement with the State under which the State may inspect small passenger vessels operating in waters of that State designated by the Secretary, if—
the State plan for the inspection of small passenger vessels meets such requirements as the Secretary may require to ensure the safety and operation of such vessels in accordance with the standards that would apply if the Coast Guard were inspecting such vessels; and
the State will provide such information obtained through the inspection program to the Secretary annually in such form and in such detail as the Secretary may require.
“(b) Fees.—
The Secretary may adjust or waive the user fee imposed under section 3317 of title 46, United States Code, for the inspection of small passenger vessels inspected under the State program.
“(c) Termination.—
The authority provided by subsection (a) terminates on December 31, 1999.
“(d) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—
“(1) Secretary.—
The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating.
“(2) State.—
The term ‘State’ means the State of Minnesota.
“(3) Small passenger vessel.—
The term ‘small passenger vessel’ means a small passenger vessel (as defined in section 2101(35) [now 2101(45)] of title 46, United States Code) of not more than 40 feet overall in length.”

[For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.]