The Coast Guard's Alternate Compliance Program (ACP) is one of the most significant regulatory reinvention programs of the 1990s. As contained within Title 46, Part 8, Subpart D of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the ACP is intended to reduce the regulatory burden on the maritime industry while maintaining existing levels of safety and providing increased flexibility in the construction and operation of U.S. flag vessels. In this voluntary program, Classification Society Rules, International Conventions, and an approved U.S. Supplement provide an alternative that is equivalent to the CFR. Compliance with this equivalent alternative standard is administered through survey and inspection conducted by authorized classification society surveyors. A Certificate of Inspection (COI) is issued by the Coast Guard to a vessel enrolled in the ACP based upon the classification society reports.
Guidance on the ACP program is found in Marine Safety Manual (MSM), Vol. II, Sec. B, CH 9, and Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 2-95, CH-2. Links to the MSM, NVIC and other marine inspection documents are found at: http://www.dco.uscg.mil/About-Us/
The USCG has recently launched the improved Alternate Compliance Program webpage, now known as the Commercial Vessel Inspection Alternatives and Delegated Functions” site. The site can be accessed by clicking here. As before, the website contains a full listing of delegated authorization, class society functions, and Administration Agreements. These are easily viewable in the updated Summary Table of Authorizations.