46 USC § 3203
Safety management system
through Pub. L. 116-344, except Pub. Ls. 116-260 and 116-283

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall prescribe regulations which establish a safety management system for responsible persons and vessels to which this chapter applies, including—

(1) a safety and environmental protection policy;

(2) instructions and procedures to ensure safe operation of those vessels and protection of the environment in compliance with international and United States law;

(3) defined levels of authority and lines of communications between, and among, personnel on shore and on the vessel;

(4) procedures for reporting accidents and nonconformities with this chapter;

(5) procedures for preparing for and responding to emergency situations; and

(6) procedures for internal audits and management reviews of the system.

(b) Compliance With Code.—Regulations prescribed under this section shall be consistent with the International Safety Management Code with respect to vessels to which this chapter applies under section 3202(a) of this title.

(c) In prescribing regulations for passenger vessels and small passenger vessels, the Secretary shall consider—

(1) the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of the service of these vessels; and

(2) with respect to vessels that are ferries, the sizes of the ferry systems within which the vessels operate.

Editorial Notes


2010—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 111–281 added subsec. (c).

2004—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 108–293 substituted "vessels to which this chapter applies under section 3202(a) of this title" for "vessels engaged on a foreign voyage".

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Flag-State Guidance and Supplements

Pub. L. 115–265, title II, §213, Oct. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 3750, provided that:

"(a) Freight Vessels; Damage Control Information.—Within 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 11, 2018], the Secretary shall issue flag-State guidance for all freight vessels documented under chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code, built before January 1, 1992, regarding the inclusion of comprehensive damage control information in safety management plans required under chapter 32 of title 46, United States Code.

"(b) Recognized Organizations; United States Supplement.—The Commandant [of the Coast Guard] shall—

"(1) work with recognized organizations to create a single United States Supplement to rules of such organizations for classification of vessels; and

"(2) by not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, provide to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a briefing on whether it is necessary to revise part 8 of title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, to authorize only one United States Supplement to such rules."

[For definitions of "Secretary" and "recognized organizations" as used in section 213 of Pub. L. 115–265, set out above, see section 203 of Pub. L. 115–265, set out as a note under section 2101 of this title.]

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