Thursday, April 26, 2012

Improving the Marine Event Permit Program

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by LCDR Ellis H. Moose, marine event permit program manager, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Marine Transportation Systems, Oceans and Transportation Policy Division.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been safely and successfully administering the marine event permit program for years, but the ambiguity of existing policy has made it difficult to provide a consistent service-wide approach. 

Currently, Coast Guard district and sector commanders evaluate the need for an event permit by using locally developed risk-based decision making and knowledge of their areas of responsibility. While this practice has resulted in an impressive safety record, it’s created inconsistencies in how the program is administered from unit to unit and district to district.

The Review
The Office of Marine Transportation Systems at Coast Guard headquarters owns the marine event permitting process and is working with Training Center Petaluma, whose analysts are developing a strategic needs assessment, a five-phase process that consists of:
  • performance analysis,
  • root cause analysis,
  • intervention selection,
  • implementation,
  • evaluation.
The project will certainly include revisions to national policy but could also include job aids, detailed work instructions, or training courses.

Seamless Service Delivery
Coast Guard units must continue to execute the program using the risk-based approach that has served so faithfully to date. Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that sector and district commanders will always have wide latitude to exercise discretion in the administration of the program regardless of the outcomes from this project. 

No national policy will ever substitute for considering the totality of the situation, the inherent risks associated with gathering people and vessels on the water, and the local issues unique to an area when exercising this authority.

It is the goal of this project to foster a policy that provides a consistent approach while continuing to provide effective control over marine events.

Coast Guard members navigate their canoe during a race against the other four branches of the military at the Walter MacFarlane Canoe Regatta in Waikiki. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Michael De Nyse. 

Full article is available at