Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise (OCSNCOE)

Offshore Renewable Energy

Block Island Wind Farm
Clockwise from left: Block Island Wind Farm, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States (located in state waters off of Rhode Island's Block Island;
CG photo); Liftboat ROBERT; Crew Transfer Vessel ATLANTIC PIONEER, the first U.S. Flagged, Jones Act compliant CTV (CG photo).

U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Involvement

Offshore Renewable Energy Installation (OREI):
An OCS activity, for the purposes of 33 CFR Subchapter N, is currently associated with the exploration, development or production of minerals of the OCS. [emphasis added]. Therefore, the actual renewable energy installation or facility (e.g. a wind turbine) is not subject to oversight by the U.S. Coast Guard under the provisions of Subchapter N.

Depending on the location of the OREI, the USCG may have an interest related to safety of navigation (i.e., Waterways management) both during construction activities and after completion of the OREI. Local operational units, such as Sectors, Air Stations and Small Boat Stations also have interests related to emergency response/rescue from an OREI.


Renewable Energy Support Vessels:
The U.S. vessels that support renewable energy installations are subject to U.S. Coast Guard inspection and oversight. These vessels will typically be inspected under 46 CFR Subchapters L, T, or I and may be multi-certificated under multiple Subchapters. Renewable energy support falls within the definition of an Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) regulated under Subchapter L as defined at 46 CFR 125.160:
"Offshore Supply Vessel or OSV means a vessel that -
   (1) Is propelled by machinery other than steam;
   (2) Does not meet the definition of a passenger-carrying vessel in 46 U.S.C. 2101(22) or 46 U.S.C. 2101(35);
   (3) Is more than 15 gross tons; and
   (4) Regularly carries good, supplies, individuals in addition to the crew, or equipment in support of exploration, exploitation or production of offshore mineral or energy resources." [emphasis added]

Click on the title of this section above or here to learn more about the types of vessels that currently support, or are planned to support, offshore wind activities on the U.S. OCS.


Additional U.S. Government Agency Oversight and Involvement

Information related to renewable energy installations and projects on the OCS can be found on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) renewable energy webpage.


U.S. Regulations for Vessels Conducting Renewable Energy Support Operations

As mentioned above, vessels supporting renewable energy operations may be inspected under 46 CFR Subchapters L, I or T, and may be subject to multiple subchapters if multi-certificated. Additional subchapters of 46 CFR also apply to U.S. mariner licensing and vessel manning requirements, lifesaving and firefighting equipment approvals and vessel machinery, electrical systems and stability. Special equipment and operations (cranes and commercial diving are two examples) may be subject to other parts of 46 CFR, if installed on or conducted from a vessel that is supporting renewable energy operations.

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


Policy and Guidance related to OREIs and their Support Vessels

Currently, the only U.S. Coast Guard Guidance related to Offshore Renewable Energy Installations (OREIs) is contained within BOEMRE/USCG MOA OCS-06, dated 27Jul2011.

Job Aids, which replaced the legacy CG-840 Books, related to support vessel inspections are posted on the Job Aid page.


Casualty Reporting

Current revisions of the "Report of Marine Casualty, Commercial Diving Casualty, or OCS-Related Casualty", CG-2692, supplemental forms and guidance can be found on the Office of Investigations & Casualty Analysis (CG-INV) 2692 Casualty Reporting Forms page.