Classification Society Authorizations

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The Coast Guard allows vessel inspection alternatives to comply with Title 46 of the Code of Federal regulations.  46 CFR Part 8 lists the various programs for classification societies to act on the Coast Guard’s behalf in caring out certification and inspection activities.  CG-ENG-1 is responsible for coordinating Coast Guard recognition, authorization, or approvals associated with classification societies in the following areas:

Classification Society Recognition- A classification society must be recognized (see 46 CFR 8.220) before it may request to receive statutory authority delegation from the Coast Guard.  CG-ENG-1 is responsible for ensuring reciprocity requirements under 46 CFR 8.120 are met, allowing the same access to ABS by the classification society country of origin.  Additionally, CG-ENG-1 is responsible for ensuring that the requesting classification society meets the minimum standards for a recognized classification society required by 46 CFR 8.230.

International Convention Certificate Authorization- A classification society must request authorization (see 46 CFR 8.320) to issue international convention certificates on behalf of the Coast Guard. 

U.S. Supplement Approval- In lieu of complying with the U.S. regulations, vessels that enroll in the Alternate Compliance Program can be constructed/operated in accordance with certain Classification Society Rules.  This allowance requires that Class Societies develop a Supplement (see 46 CFR  8.430) for CG approval to ensure that class rules corresponded to U.S. regulations. Current approved U.S. Supplements can be found here.

Classification Society Approval- Under 46 CFR 2.45-10, a classification society (including an employee or agent of that society) must request approval to review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel in the United States.   CG-ENG-1 is responsible for reviewing and approving these requests to ensure they meet the approval requirements under 46 CFR 2.45-15

If you have questions regarding classification society authorizations, please contact the Program Coordinator at (202) 272-1360.