Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Vessel Identification System

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. W. Vann Burgess, Senior Recreational Boating Safety Specialist and Ms. Kathleen Poole, Western States Grant Coordinator, U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division

Currently 32 states and territories have access to a secure database for all vessels documented by the Coast Guard. The data is accurate to within the last 30 days and can be used to verify ownership of a vessel while a law enforcement officer is on scene, as well as to identify abandoned vessels or vessels involved in an accident or search and rescue case.

Getting More States on Board
The advantages of this type of system are obvious, yet there are still states that are not participating. Some are facing barriers such as state privacy laws, or their system of numbering doesn’t provide a unique identifier for each record. Some states cannot provide the information in a format that can be translated into the system.

Making sure that states and the Coast Guard share as much timely information with each other as possible to protect our nation’s waterways and citizens is a top priority. The Coast Guard strongly encourages those states not yet participating to re-energize efforts to resolve any issues preventing participation and work with the Coast Guard to bring this system up to its full potential.

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