Page 14: of Marine News Magazine (February 2011)

Inland Waterways

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14 MN February 2011


In my last column I explained the U.S.

Coast Guard’s marine casualty report- ing regulations, which require immedi- ate reporting to the Coast Guard of events the agency defines as “Marine

Casualties,” usually satisfied by a phone call followed within five days by a writ- ten report on Form CG-2692 (Report of

Marine Accident, Injury or Death) (

A “Serious Marine Incident,” or “SMI” in Coast Guard parlance, is a step-up in severity from a “Marine

Casualty.” The occurrence of a SMI triggers the Coast

Guard’s chemical, drug and alcohol testing requirements and procedures. These requirements and procedures, as set forth in the agency’s regulations, are lengthy and reticulat- ed. I try to make better sense of them here.

Serious Marine Incident: Trigger for Drug & Alcohol


A Serious Marine Incident is defined in 46 C.F.R. § 4.03–2 and includes the following events involving a commercial vessel: “(a) Any marine casualty or accident as defined in § 4.03–1 [falls overboard, groundings, strandings, founder- ings, floodings, collisions, allisions, explosions, fires, loss- es of electrical power, propulsion, or steering; events which impair any aspect of a vessel’s operation, compo- nents, cargo, seaworthiness, efficiency, or fitness for serv- ice or route; incidents involving significant harm to the environment; and diving accidents] which is required by § 4.05–1 [the Marine Casualty reporting regulation]... to be reported to the Coast Guard and [emphasis added]... which results in any of the following: (1) One or more deaths;

When, Who & How to Test

USCG Post-Accident Regs Explained

By Frederick B. Goldsmith

Coast Guard photograph by PA2 Bobby Nash.

A civilian undergoes a field sobriety test.

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