Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise (OCSNCOE)


Policy and Guidance - Vessels involved in OCS Activities

This page has the following content applicable to support vessels (click on item to be taken directly to that section):
  1) USCG Marine Safety Manual (MSM), Vol II;
  2) Reference Books compiled by subject;
  3) Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), including "Old" CFRs;
  4) National Policy;
  5) District Eight (Gulf of Mexico) Policy; and
  6) Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVICs).

Part 1: MSM

Vessels that support or conduct OCS Activities fall under numerous vessel types and categories. The majority of the vessels that are involved in this work are Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), Industrial Vessels or Small Passenger Vessels. These vessels are mostly regulated under 46 CFR Subchapters L, I and T, respectively. 46 CFR Subchapters D, F, J, O and S and 33 CFR also have applicabilities to these vessel types. For vessels involved in OCS Activities, the following chapters in the Marine Safety Manual (MSM), Volume II: Section G - OCS Activities apply:
  ○  Chapter 1, Regulations, Policy and Guidance for a Unit Conducting an OCS Activity, and
  ○  Chapter 6, Procedures Applicable to Other Vessels Engaged in OCS Activities.

Part 2: Reference books compiled by subject

Reference "Books" (by subject):
  ○  Accommodations
  ○  Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Guide
  ○  Vessel General Permit

Part 3: Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs)

CFRs that pertain to support vessels are as follows:

Primary subchapters for the vessel type -
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter I - Cargo and Miscellaneous Vessels (often referred to as Industrial Vessels)
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter L - Offshore Supply Vessels
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter T - Small Passenger Vessels (Under 100 Gross Tons)

Additional subchapters that apply (not all will apply to each of the vessels inspected under the subchapters listed above) -
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter A - Procedures Applicable to the Public
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter B - Merchant Marine Officers and Seamen
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter E - Load Lines
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter F - Marine Engineering
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter G - Documentation and Measurement of Vessels
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter J - Electrical Engineering
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter Q - Equipment, Construction and Materials: Specifications and Approval
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter S - Subdivision and Stability
Note that 46 CFR Subchapters D, I-A, N, O, V or W, or portions thereof, may also be utilized for vessels with specific arrangements/equipment or involved in specific operations.
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter D - International Navigation Rules
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter E - Inland Navigation Rules
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter F - Vessel Operating Regulations
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter H - Maritime Security (Parts 101, 103 and 104)
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter N - Outer Continental Shelf Activities
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter O - Pollution
  ○  33 CFR Subchapter P - Ports and Waterways Safety
Note that 33 CFR Subchapter A also has applicability in regards to administration and legal actions.

CFRs can be viewed at ecfr.gov (regularly updated online version) or govinfo.gov (annual editions).

"Old" CFRs (click on the "year"):
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter I, 1995 edition ("Old I") and 1963 edition ("Old-Old I")

  ○  46 CFR Subchapter J, 1995 edition ("Old J") and 1981 edition ("Old-Old J")
  ○  46 CFR Subchapter T, 1995 edition ("Old T")

Part 4: National Policy

Policy Letters that apply to support vessels (OSVs (to include Liftboats) and small passenger vessels suppoting oil and gas operations) are listed in the tables below, grouped by issuing authority and ordered from newest to oldest (by policy number). Click on the policy number to open the document.

National Policy
Office Policy Number Date Issued Subject

Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance
CG-CVC 18-04 03Apr2018 Guidance on Implementation of New Standards for Fire Protection, Detection and Extinguishing Equipment
CG-CVC 17-09 27Nov2017 Issuance and Acceptance of Electronic Certificates
CG-CVC 14-03 06Apr2015 Evaluating Sea Service aboard Liftboats
CG-CVC 13-02 05May2013 MARPOL Annex VI International Energy Efficiency (IEE) Certificate Implementation Guidance
CG-CVC 13-01 26Feb2013 Interim Guidance for Revised MARPOL Annex V Implementation
CG-CVC 12-08 15Oct2012 Guidance Implementing the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Ant-Fouling Systems on Ships (CANCELLED, see MSM Vol II; included here for historical reference purposes only)
CG-CVC 12-05 11Oct2012 Hours of Rest – Implementation of the 2010 Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978
CG-CVC 12-04 25Jul2012 Guidelines for Compliance and Enforcement of the Emission Control Areas Established within the United States Jurisdiction as Designated in MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14
CG-CVC 12-03 01Jun2012 Endorsement of Offshore Supply Vessels (OSV) as Oil Spill Response Vessels (OSRV)
CG-543 11-04 13Apr2011 Compliance Verification of Alternative Security Program for MTSA Regulated Vessels and Facilities
CG-543 11-01 11Feb2011 Guidelines for Coast Guard Evaluations of Compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels
CG-543 10-05 26Nov2010 Electronic Navigation Publications onboard U.S. Vessels
CG-543 10-01 04Mar2010 Use of Single Voyage Load Line Authorizations
CG-543 09-02 12Aug2009 Industry Guidelines for Requesting Alternate Planning Criteria Approval, One Time Waivers and Interim Operating Authorization
CG-543 09-01 04Feb2009 Guidelines for Ensuring Compliance with Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 73/78; Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
CG-543 07-02 04Mar2008 Guidance on the Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of Liftboats
CG-3PCV 06-09 22Dec2006 Implementation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 73/78; Annex I Revised
G-PCV 06-05 28Jul2006 Regulatory Interpretation for Notice of Arrival Regulation
G-MOC 05-02 03May2005 Guidelines for Interim Voluntary Implementation of Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 73/78; Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
G-MOC 04-13, Rev-1 24Mar2005 Guidelines for the Inspection of Oily Water Monitor and Separator Systems
G-MOC 04-06 10Aug2004 Guidance for Ballast Water Regulations
G-MOC 04-05 29Mar2004 Guidance when Considering Exemptions from the SOLAS Requirement to Carry Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)
G-MOC 04-02 17May2004 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Operator Requirements
G-MOC 03-03 08Sep2003 Guidelines for Equivalent Compliance with (Revised) MARPOL 73/78 Annex IV (Sewage)
G-MOC 01-01 13Apr2001 Cargo Ship Fixed Fire-Extinguishing System SOLAS Exemptions
G-MOC 4-00, Rev-1 26Apr2001 Watchkeeping and Work-Hour Limitations on Towing Vessels, Offshore Supply Vessels (OSV) & Crew Boats Utilizing a Two Watch System
G-MOC 00-02 22May2000 Five-Year Certificate of Inspection (COI) and SOLAS Survey Intervals

Office of Design and Engineering Standards
CG-ENG 01-18 01May2018 Equivalency Determination – FRP Gratings Conforming to ASTM F3059
CG-ENG 01-16 29Apr2016 Portable Accommodation Module (PAM) Guidance
CG-ENG 03-15 03Sep2015 Acceptance of CAP-437, Standards for Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas
CG-ENG 02-14 30Apr2014 Approval of Equivalencies to the Requirements for Odorizing Units on Fixed Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishing Systems
CG-ENG 01-14 04Mar2014 Lifeboat Release Mechanisms: Policy on Implementation of New SOLAS Regulation III/1.5 and IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1392
CG-ENG 05-12 07Sep2012 Policy on the Implementation of Additional Personnel Safety Requirements for Carbon Dioxide Fire Suppression Systems
CG-ENG 03-12 15May2012 Policy on the Implementation of IMO Resolution A.673(16), Guidelines for the Transport and Handling of Limited Amounts of Hazardous and Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk on Offshore Support Vessels, for New ans Existing Offshore Supply Vessels

National Maritime Center
NMC 05-01 06Mar2001 Lifeboatmen and Proficiency in Survival Craft (PSC) Qualifications for Service on Vessels not Equipped with Lifeboats



Part 5: District 8 (Gulf of Mexico) Policy


District Eight (D8) Policy
Policy Number Date Issued Subject
01-2017 01Sep2017 Temporary Emergency Berthing Vessels
05-10 19Nov2010 Eighth District Guidance Regarding Implementation of MARPOL Annex II and IMO Resolution A.673 for Existing OSVs
02-2004 02Apr2004 Foreign Crewmembers Working on board Offshore Supply Vessels
01-2003 22Jan2003 Use of Dynamic Positioning (DP) by Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs) for Oil and Hazmat Transfers
01-2002 25Oct2002 Delegation of Authority to OCMIs to Grant Drydock Extensions
09-2001 05Jul2001 Certification of Multi-Service OSVs
99-18 25Aug1999 Rescue Boats on Liftboats
99-16 19Aug1999 OSV Exemption from IMO Resolution A.673(16)
07-1999 14Jul1999 Loadline Extension Authority up to 150 Days for Approved Assignment Authority
99-06 03Mar1999 Issuing COI Amendments (CG-858)
98-31 12Nov1998 Rescue Boat Requirements on OSVs
98-21 09Oct1998 Persons Allowed on Liftboats
09-1998 25Sep1998 Detainment of Vessels after a Serious Marine Incident
98-03 13Apr1998 Standardization of Evaluation and Crediting Sea Service on Liftboats
04-1998 06Apr1998 Drug and Alcohol Testing
97-20 16Jul1997 Tankerman Requirements on OSVs
97-14 30May1997 6000 GT ITC Tonnage Issues for OSVs
97-13 30May1997 Transfer of Excess Fuel from Crew Boats
97-12 22May1997 Route Restrictions on Liftboats Operating in the Gulf of Mexico
97-11 14May1997 Coastwise Trade Determination
08-1997 13Aug1997 Testing of Liferaft Hydrostatic Release (CANCELLED 11Jul2014 by D8 OCS Memo, incorporated into MSM Vol II; included here for historical reference purposes only)
11-1995 20Nov1995 Eighth District Drug and Alcohol Policy



Part 6: Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVICs)

NVICs that apply to OCS support vessels are listed in the table below, ordered from newest to oldest (by NVIC number). Click on the NVIC number to open the document. ALL NVICs can be found on the Official NVIC Page.

Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVICs)
Date Issued Subject
04-17, CH-1 26Oct2018 CH-1 to Guidelines on Qualification for National and STCW Endorsements for Service as Assistant Engineer and Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch on Offshore Supply Vessels, NVIC 04-17, COMDTPUB 16721
03-17, CH-1 19Oct2018 CH-1 to Guidelines on Qualification for National and STCW Endorsements for Service as Master and Chief Mate on Offshore Supply Vessels, NVIC 03-17, COMDTPUB 16721
02-17, CH-1 26Oct2018 CH-1 to Guidelines on Qualification for National and STCW Endorsements for Service as Chief Engineer on Offshore Supply Vessels, NVIC 02-17, COMDTPUB 16721
01-17, CH-1 18Oct2018 CH-1 to Guidelines on Qualification for National and STCW Endorsements for Service as Mate on Offshore Supply Vessels, NVIC 01-17, COMDTPUB 16721
02-07 09Mar2007 Guidance on the Coast Guard’s Roles and Responsibilities for Offshore Renewable Energy Installations (OREI)
9-01 30Nov2001 Guidance on STCW Quality Standards Systems (QSS) for Merchant Mariner Courses or Training Programs
8-01, CH-3 24Apr2017 Approval of Navigation Equipment for Ships
6-01 25May2001 Protective Equipment Required for Firefighter’s Outfits
09-00, CH-1 10Feb2005 CH-1 to NVIC 09-00; Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishing System Safety
7-00 04Aug2000 Clarification of the Application of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, to Vessels less than 200 Gross Register Tons (GRT)
3-00 11May2000 Manning and Training Guidance for Fast Rescue Boats on United States Vessels
10-99 10Sep1999 Interpretations of SOLAS Chapter II-2
5-99, CH-1 13Oct2006 Guidance Regarding Voluntary Compliance with the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety management (ISM) Code)
3-99 29Jan1999 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) Equipment Requirements for Commercial Vessels
2-99 - Guidance on the Streamlined Inspection Program
10-97 07Nov1997 Guidelines for Cargo Securing Manual Approval
9-97, CH-1 02Jul2010 CH-1 to NVIC 9-97, Guide to Structural Fire Protection
3-97 - Stability Related Review Performed by the American Bureau of Shipping for U.S. Flag Vessels
3-95 19Jun1995 Periodic Inspection and Testing of Fixed Halon Fire Fighting Equipment aboard Merchant Vessels
02-95, CH-3 02Oct2018 The Alternate Compliance Program (ACP)
9-94 23Nov1994 Guidelines for Training and Certification in the Use of Marine Radar
6-94, CH-1 - Guidance for Issuing International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificates under Annex I of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78)
2-94 15Mar1994 Guidance Regarding Voluntary Compliance with the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (CANCELLED, see MSM Vol II;included here for historical reference purposes only)
1-94 21Jan1994 Marking of Life Preservers and PFDs
11-93, CH-3 21Nov2003 CH-3 to NVIC 11-93, Applicability of Tonnage Measurement Systems to U.S. Flag Vessels
13-92 15Dec1992 Captain of the Port Zone Boundaries
11-92 23Oct1992 Guidance for Acceptance of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) for Repairs and Alterations to Boilers and Pressure Vessels
10-92, CH-2 04May2006 CH-2 to NVIC 10-92, Coast Guard Recognition of Registered Professional Engineer Certification of Compliance with Coast Guard Requirements
3-92 24Feb1992 Recommended Program for Protection of Merchant Mariners from Occupational Health Problems
2-92 04Feb1992 Survival Equipment for Lifeboats and Liferafts
8-91 21May1991 Initial and Subsequent Inspection of Existing, Uncertificated Offshore Supply Vessels, Including Liftboats
7-89 08Jan1990 Maneuvering Information
4-89 27Nov1989 Introduction to Human Factors Engineering
3-89 07Sep1989 Guidelines for the Presentation of Stability Information for Operating Personnel
2-89 14Aug1989 Guide for Electrical Installations on Merchant Vessels and Mobile Offshore Drilling Units
1-89 15Mar1989 Underwater Survey Guidance
6-87 21Sep1987 Recommended Procedures for Control of Asbestos and Other Respiratory Hazards on board Merchant Vessels, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Facilities and Deepwater Ports
5-87 13Mar1987 Guidance on Implementation of Annex II of the MARPOL Protocol of 73/78 for Vessels Carrying Noxious Liquid Substances (NLS) in Bulk
11-86 05Sep1986 Guidelines Governing the Use of Fiberglass Pipe (FGP) on Coast Guard Inspected Vessels
10-86 05Aug1986 Equivalence to Minimum Bow Height Requirements for Load Line Assignment
7-86 30Apr1986 Information on the Adequacy and Currency of Nautical Charts
4-86 28Mar1986 Hydraulic Release Units for Liferafts, Life Floats and Buoyant Apparatus and Alternate Float-Free Arrangements
1-86 15Jan1986 Shipment and Discharge of Seamen
4-85 29May1985 Recalls and Other Corrective Measures for Lifesaving Equipment
11-84 20Dec1984 Guidelines for New Construction or Major Modification of U.S. Flag Vessels in Foreign Shipyards
8-84 23Aug1984 Recommendations for the Submittal of Merchant Vessel Plans and Specifications
6-84 25Jun1984 Automated Main and Auxiliary Machinery; Supplemental Guidance on
4-84 24Apr1984 Equivalent Determination for Existing, Installed Oil-Water Separators which Have Not Received U.S. Coast Guard Approval
2-84 06Apr1984 Amendments to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Treaty
1-84 03Apr1984 Lack of Topstitching on Some Type I Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
10-83 29Sep1983 Stability Approval and the Issuance of Stability Letters
9-83 14Sep1983 Coast Guard Guidance Regarding Requirement for Charts and Publications
8-83 09Aug1983 Guidance for Compliance with Annex I of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78)
5-83 28Apr1983 Unified Interpretations of the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966
1-83 10Feb1983 Painters for Life Floats and Buoyant Apparatus
13-82 24Jun1982 Cross Reference List between the IMO Chemical Code and 46 CFR Part 153
10-82, CH-2 18Sep1989 CH-2 to NVIC 10-82, Acceptance of Plan Review and Inspection Tasks Performed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for New Construction or Major Modification of U.S. Flag Vessels
7-82 13Apr1982 Sample Format of Vessel or Facility Station Bill
14-81 02Dec1981 Stability Tests; Waiving of for "Sister Vessels"
10-81, CH-1 05Oct1981 Coast Guard Certification and Inspection of Certain Categories of Existing Vessels
9-81 10Aug1981 Coast Guard Guidance Regarding Shipboard Helicopter Facilities
6-81 18Jun1981 Lifeboat Weight Tests
5-81 26May1981 Literature Concerning Hazardous Cargoes
7-80 02Apr1980 Use of Fire Detection Systems which are Not approved under 46 CFR 161.002
2-80 07Feb1980 Poured-Metal Socket Connections for Lifeboat Falls
1-80 14Jan1980 Inspection of Viking On-Load Release Gear on Watercraft America
1-78 - Automation of Offshore Supply Vessels of 100 Gross Tons and Over
5-77 20Dec1977 Inspection of Hydraulic Starting Systems for Lifeboats and Survival Capsules
7-74 06Dec1974 Oil-Water Separators; Acceptance of
6-72, CH-1 22Aug1972 Guide to Fixed Fire-Fighting Equipment aboard Merchant Vessels
6-70 23Aug1970 Fixed Fire Extinguishing Systems for Use in Galley Ventilating Equipment
1-69 08Jan1969 Automated Main and Auxiliary Machinery
7-68 28Oct1968 Notes on Inspection and Repair of Steel Hulls
3-68 21Mar1968 Tensile Fasteners
3-67 17May1967 Alteration of Ship’s Structure which May Affect the Adequacy of Installed Safety Devices
1-66 25Jan1966 Requirements for Hull Structural Steel - Structural Continuity
2-63 24Jan1963 Guide for Inspection and Repair of Lifesaving Equipment
2-62 29Jan1962 Watertight Bulkheads in All Inspected Vessels, Maintenance of Watertight Integrity