The LeadersIn Maritime Law

What Is a Certificate of Inspection?

Over a period of more than 140 years, the laws regarding the inspection and certification of U.S. flag carrying vessels have developed. Since consolidating these laws into 46 U.S.C. Chapter 33, vessels are subject to inspection and certification by the Coast Guard on a regular basis to ensure their safety.

The following types of vessels must be inspected:

  • Freight Vessels
  • Nautical School Vessels
  • Offshore Supply Vessels
  • Passenger Vessels
  • Sailing School Vessels
  • Seagoing Barges
  • Seagoing Motor Vessels
  • Small Passenger Vessels
  • Steam Vessels
  • Tank Vessels
  • Fish Processing Vessels
  • Fish Tender Vessels
  • Great Lakes Barges
  • Oil Spill Response Vessels
  • Towing Vessels

About the Certificate of Inspection

Once a vessel has been inspected and found to be in compliance with all applicable laws, a certificate of inspection is issued. This certificate must be framed and prominently displayed in a conspicuous place on the vessel; a vessel may not be operated unless its certificate is on board.

If a vessel navigates without certification, it will be required to:

  • Be moored until certification is issued;
  • Take immediate steps to ensure the safety of all individuals on board and the environment; and/or
  • Proceed to a place for repairs.

A certified vessel is also required to comply with all of the conditions during the term of the certificate. Should a vessel not be in compliance with these terms, a written notice will be sent to the individual in charge and the vessel may be required to make repairs immediately or cease operating; in some cases, if the vessel has a condition deemed to be unsafe to life, the certificate may be revoked or suspended.

Scope of the Inspection by the Coast Guard

There are several things that must be determined by the Coast Guard when inspecting a vessel:

  • The vessel is suitable for service;
  • The vessel is equipped with lifesaving, fire prevention, and firefighting equipment;
  • The vessel can properly accommodate crew, instructors, students, and/or passengers;
  • The vessel has enough potable water for drinking and washing;
  • The vessel is in a safe condition with regard to both life and property; and
  • The vessel complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Before being put into service, each vessel needs to undergo an inspection for certification. Following the initial inspection, passenger vessels, nautical school vessels, and small passenger vessels will need to be inspected at least once per year, with all other vessels requiring inspection at least once every five years.

To learn more about inspection and certification, please contact Arnold & Itkin today!

What is it Like To Work With Arnold & Itkin

Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

I encountered professionalism, understanding, compassion… lot of compassion. They really felt for what me and my wife were going through.
~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

Work with a lawyer who truly understands Maritime Law.

Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.

Related Maritime Videos
  • Talking to our attorneys doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

  • We know this a difficult time. Let us help.

  • Our firm isn’t afraid to take on the largest companies.

  • We are trial lawyers who aren’t afraid of the courtroom.

  • Who you hire to represent you will have a huge impact on your case.

  • To us, being a lawyer means more than just handling paperwork.

Discuss Your Legal Rights & Options

Free Case Evaluation

  • Please enter your name.
  • Please enter your email address.
  • Please enter your phone number.
  • Please make a selection.