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Protecting Mariners’ Rights In Coast Guard Inspections

Our admiralty lawyers at Biggs & Gunst P.C. Attorneys At Law are mariners themselves. Founding partner Scott Gunst has held a Coast Guard captain’s license for more than 15 years. If you have an impending Coast Guard inspection and need a vessel inspection attorney, our Ann Arbor maritime attorneys have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Who Needs To Comply With A Coast Guard Vessel Inspection?

The U.S. Coast Guard has the right to board and inspect maritime vessels with or without probable cause. They may ask permission to board, but they will board with or without your permission.

Maritime Vessel Inspections

During a vessel inspection, the Coast Guard inspectors will evaluate and examine:

  • The structural integrity of the vessel
  • The vessel’s seaworthiness
  • The vessel’s propulsion system
  • Hazardous conditions
  • Lifesaving capabilities
  • Firefighting capabilities

Inspectors will examine the ship’s emergency equipment, radio systems, communication networks and life jackets. In addition, inspectors will verify compliance with federal regulations and laws. Once a vessel passes a Coast Guard inspection, the Coast Guard will issue a Certificate of Inspection.

When Are Vessel Inspections Required?

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that recreational boaters participate in the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) program annually. If a vessel is carrying more than six paying passengers, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) inspection is required.

An application for inspection should be submitted for new vessels. An application will require the following information:

  • The name of the vessel
  • The type of vessel
  • The nature of employment
  • The route the vessel will be operated

The application will also identify where and when the vessel will be available for inspection. A Certificate of Inspection, if issued, will be good for one year. If the vessel is required to be inspected annually, the ship’s owner, charterer, managing operator or agent must notify the Coast Guard at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection.

How A Vessel Inspection Attorney Can Help

An experienced maritime lawyer can provide guidance and assistance in submitting an application for inspection and obtaining a vessel’s Certificate of Inspection. As mariners themselves, our attorneys know and understand what a vessel needs in order to pass inspection.

Schedule A Free Consultation With A Vessel Inspection Attorney

Our admiralty lawyers are available to answer your questions during a free initial consultation. To schedule your free appointment, contact our office by sending an inquiry using our online form or by calling our office at 734-720-4445.