Coast Guard to conduct voluntary commercial passenger vessel safety examinations on Lake Texoma

HOUSTON — Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and Coast Guard Auxiliary Division Five and Division Ten will conduct voluntary commercial passenger vessel safety examinations throughout the Lake Texoma region Jan. 13-17, 2010.

Examinations will be conducted at locations based upon specific requests received from owners of commercial passenger vessels operated on Lake Texoma. The Coast Guard is encouraging vessel owners to specify a marina or other public location where Coast Guard personnel can arrive to conduct examinations to assist owners in meeting established safety and credentialing requirements. The voluntary examination is a “no blame, no penalty & no fault” examination that will assist the boat owner to better understand the federal regulations that are required for operation. Once the courtesy exam is complete, the Coast Guard inspector will issue a Coast Guard decal, a Certificate of Inspection or a boarding receipt, which will document the boat’s level of compliance.

The Coast Guard is working with state and congressional delegations from Texas and Oklahoma to improve safety on Lake Texoma and the Coast Guard’s primary goal is to ensure that sightseeing cruises, fishing charters, and party boats operate safely within the standards captured by established Federal Regulations.

All mariners who carry passengers for hire on the navigable waters of the United States are required to hold an appropriate merchant mariner credential (license). This requirement has existed in one form or another since the passage of The Motorboat Act of 1910. The Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV) credential was created when the licensing regulations were amended in 1989. The OUPV credential is commonly used by commercial vessels carrying six or fewer passengers and has lower qualification requirements, including age, than the Master license that had been previously required. In addition, all mariners are required to hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) by 46 U.S.C. §70105. This requirement applies to all mariners without regard to the scope of their credentials or the waterways upon which they will operate.

Commercial vessel owners are encouraged to contact Lt. Geoffrey Scibek to schedule a voluntary uninspected passenger vessel examination. He can be reached via phone at (832) 256-3257 or via e-mail at HoustonDOM@uscg.mil.

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