Flag State Control Division (CG-CVC-4)

Classification Society Authorizations

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The Coast Guard authorizes classification societies to conduct work in the United States, delegates authority related to certain statutory certification and services, and authorizes classification societies to participate in the Alternate Compliance Program. These functions are listed in 46 CFR Parts 2 and 8.  46 CFR Part 2-45 lists the requirements for classification society approval.  46 CFR Part 8 lists the various programs for classification societies to act on the Coast Guard’s behalf in caring out statutory certification and services.  CG-CVC-4 is responsible for coordinating Coast Guard recognition, authorization, or approvals associated with classification societies in the following areas:


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-CVC-4 is responsible for reviewing and approving these requests to ensure they meet the approval requirements under 46 CFR 2.45-15

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-CVC-4 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-CVC-4 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. 

Classification Society Authorizations and Agreements:

Alternate Compliance Program Authorization:

A classification society may be authorized (see 46 CFR 8.420) to participate in the Alternate Compliance Program

U.S. Supplement Approval:

In lieu of complying with the U.S. regulations in 46 CFR, 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 Coast Guard approval to ensure that class rules corresponded to U.S. regulations. Current approved U.S. Supplements can be found here.


If you have questions regarding classification society authorizations, please contact the Program Coordinator here.