Vessel Determinations

Vessel Determinations

On occasion, State law enforcement agencies, manufacturers or other interested parties will ask the Coast Guard what laws and regulations apply to a particular device being used, or considered for use, on the water. The Coast Guard’s first step is to determine whether or not the particular device in question is a "vessel". The process begins with the definition of the word vessel found in 1 USC 3, which is: "The word "vessel" includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water." If the device in question fits the definition, further analysis is conducted considering the following factors:

(1) Whether the watercraft is "practically capable" of carrying persons or property beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing, or bathing area;

(2) Whether the useful operating range of the device is limited by the physical endurance of its operator;

(3) Whether the device presents a substantial hazard to navigation or safety not already present;

(4) Whether the normal objectives sought to be accomplished by the regulation of a device as a "vessel" are present;

(5) Whether the operator and/or cargo would no longer be safe in the water if the device became disabled.

This analysis is conducted and reviewed by subject matter experts, and then a final determination is made and provided to the requestor. Recent determinations are listed below and can be downloaded by clicking on the determination title.


Determination

Date

Gold Dredges

May 23, 2012

Paddleboard

October 3, 2008

Argo Amphibious ATV

April 30, 2007

Kiteboard

April 30, 2007

Float Tubes

Nov. 18, 1999,  Feb. 13, 1995

 

 

RESOURCES

Media and Marketing Materials

Members of the press, boating safety specialists and advocates, and the general public are invited to utilize any and all of the media and marketing materials in this section.

 

Photo Library

The U.S. Coast Guard has provided the Image Library as a resource tool for boating safety specialists, advocates and the general public.

 

Video Library

The U.S. Coast Guard has provided the Video Library as a resource tool for boating safety specialists, advocates and the general public.

QUICK LINKS

 

 


 
 
 
 
 
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