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DHS/USCG RIN: 1625-AA77 Publication ID: Fall 2004 
Title: Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels (USCG-2003-16158) 
Abstract: This rulemaking would add new and clarify existing rules for commercial fishing vessels in 46 CFR part 28. It would also establish rules on stability and watertight integrity for fishing vessels under 79 feet in length and institute regulations for the carriage of immersion suits in seasonally cold waters. To improve crew preparedness in case of an emergency, this project would also add requirements such as mandatory logging of already required drills, providing evidence of training, and ensuring that personnel required to be trained are current in their training. The project would amend 46 CFR part 28 to clarify and improve the consistency of the regulatory language so to aid in vessels compliance with the existing rules. This rulemaking supports the Coast Guard's strategic goals of maritime safety and protection of natural resources. 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: uncollected 
CFR Citation: 46 CFR 28   
Legal Authority: 46 USC 4502(a) to 4502(d)   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous industries in America. The Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988 (the Act, codified in 46 U.S.C., chapter 45) mandated regulations intended to improve the safety of vessels operating in that industry. The Coast Guard first issued rules under the Act in 1991. This rulemaking would complete our earlier, incomplete efforts to require fishing vessels to carry immersion suits for their workers and to incorporate stability features in their design. We would also require vessels to document certain training and drill measures, require the use of high water alarms in some spaces, and revise or clarify some existing requirements, all to reflect industry and Coast Guard experience since passage of the Act.

Summary of the Legal Basis: 46 U.S.C. 4502, as delegated by the Secretary of DHS to the Coast Guard.

Alternatives: Regulatory alternatives considered and rejected: (a) maintain regulatory status quo; (b) full Coast Guard licensing of commercial fishermen and full Coast Guard inspection of commercial fishing; (c) adopt training-based certificate program for operators and crew. Nonregulatory alternatives considered: continue voluntary compliance with Coast Guard 1986 guidelines.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The bulk of the costs are expected to come from the stability and watertight integrity requirements as well as the requirement for carrying immersion suits in seasonally cold waters. Exempting existing vessels from the stability and watertight regulations would reduce the costs considerably. The benefits of this rule would be calculated by isolating the specific marine-casualty cases over a suitable time that could have been prevented or mitigated by the rule. Cases will be retrieved from a Coast Guard database. After each casualty has been looked at individually to establish a causal link between the regulation in question and the correlating benefit, damages to vessels, lives lost, and injuries will be quantified and given dollar values.

Risks: Commercial fishing continues to rank at or near the top of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Coast Guard data indicate that regulations adopted under the 1988 Act have had a significant impact in reducing industry casualties, but that impact has leveled off. Studies suggest that this rulemaking, by targeting significant remaining problem areas, could have an additional significant impact on casualty reduction.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  07/00/2005    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Agency Contact:
LT Kenneth Vazquez
Project Manager, G-MOC-3
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 Second Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20593
Phone:202 267-0478