Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA)

The United States Coast Guard, Marine Transportation Systems Management is responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures that facilitate commerce, improve safety and efficiency, and inspire dialogue within the port complex that will make waterways as safe, efficient, and commercially viable as possible. To accomplish this objective, the Coast Guard utilizes the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) process. The goals of the PAWSA process are to:

1) Provide input when planning for projects to improve the safety of navigation and support the Marine Transportation System (MTS).

2) Further the MTS goals of improved coordination and cooperation between government and the private sector, and of involving stakeholders in decisions affecting them.

3) Foster development and strengthen the role of Harbor Safety Committees (HSC) with each port.

4) Support and reinforce the role of the Coast Guard in waterway and vessel traffic management within their assigned geographic areas of responsibility.

PAWSA workshops provide a formal structure for identifying risk factors and evaluating potential mitigation measures through expert input. The process requires the participation of professional waterway users with local expertise in navigation, waterway conditions, and port safety. In addition, stakeholders are included in the process to ensure that important environmental, public safety, and economic consequences are given appropriate attention as risk interventions are selected.

When applied consistently and uniformly in a number of waterways, the PAWSA process provides a basis for making best value decisions for risk mitigation investments, both on the local and aggregate level. Since 1999, the USCG has conducted 47 formal PAWSA workshops. The process has been generally well received by local maritime communities and has resulted in some resounding successes. The PAWSA process represents a significant part of joint public-private sector planning for mitigating risk in waterways.

Visit the PAWSA Website