Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top 10 Small Passenger Vessel Deficiencies (Subchapter K)—Part II

Excerpted from “Top Ten Deficiencies Found on Vessels.” Full text available on Navigate to missions/investigations/safety reports.

See Part I here.

Lighting Fixtures 46 CFR120.410
All light fixtures subject to damage must have a guard or be made of high-strength material. Light fixtures on the open weather deck, in the engine room, or in other machinery space must be protected with guards. Light fixtures located in spaces that contain flammable vapors must maintain protective guards and vapor-tight seals.

Lights in accommodation spaces are normally exempted from these requirements.

The majority of deficiencies related to light fixtures are due to the guard. Additionally, many deficiencies are due to a missing or damaged fixture.

Life Jacket Stowage 46 CFR 117.78
Inspectors often find a potential for mix-up between adult- and child-size lifejackets. These may be stowed in the same container, provided that there is a separation partition in place and the two sections are appropriately marked.

EPIRB 46 CFR 117.64
All small passenger vessels certificated to operate on the high seas or three miles beyond the coastline of the Great Lakes must have a FCC Type Accepted Category 1, 406-MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) installed in a float-free system. Many small passenger vessels fail to replace the hydrostatic release prior to its expiration date.

Also see 46 CFR 122.728 for battery replacement and testing. Retain the customer copy of the invoice when the battery is replaced and ensure the registration certificate from NOAA is on board.

Wiring Materials and Methods 46 CFR 120.340
All cables or wires must serve some piece of equipment or system aboard the vessel. If equipment is removed and not replaced, the cable or wire that serviced it must also be properly removed from the power supply.

Inspectors commonly find:

  • temporary wiring where equipment must be hard-wired,
  • insufficient mounting of cables as they run along bulkheads,
  • missing junction box covers,
  • junction boxes that are insecurely mounted.

Battery Installation 46 CFR 120.350(d), 46 CFR 120.354
Terminal connections must be tight and free of corrosion, the battery box must be permanently secured, and the box cover must be fastened securely. Terminal connections should not be made with wing nuts.

For more information:
For more information about small passenger vessel inspections, contact your local Coast Guard Sector/Inspections Division. For a listing of sector offices, click on “Sector Map” on

Stay tuned for:
Top 10 Tank Barge Deficiencies