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Updated Policy Letter on Implementation of Fire Safety Interim Rule on Small Passenger Vessels

Dec. 28, 2023 | By Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC)

The Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) has published CG-CVC Policy Letter 23-03 Change 1, “Covered Small Passenger Vessel” Fire Safety Interim Rule Implementation, which includes updates to reflect the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (2024 NDAA).

The 2024 NDAA requires Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) to delay enforcement of the means of escape requirement in 46 USC 3306(n)(3)(A)(v) until April 1, 2024, for “overnight fishing charters." In addition, the NDAA allows enforcement to be delayed until as late as January 1, 2026, for “overnight fishing charters” who have submitted plans to alter their vessel to meet escape requirements to their cognizant OCMI. “Overnight fishing charters” are defined by the 2024 NDAA as a vessel with overnight accommodations for passengers that carries a passenger for hire who is engaged in recreational fishing on board. The policy also addresses other means of escape details, special consideration by the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection, and operating with six or less passengers.

A copy of CG-CVC Policy Letter 23-03 Change 1 is available on CG-CVC’s website, at

Vessel owners or operators should contact their local marine inspection office with vessel-specific questions (directory). General questions may be submitted via

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This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.