Coast Guard To Raise Casualty Reporting Thresholds

In January 2017 the Coast Guard announced sproposalto amend two regulations which establish monetary thresholds for reporting a “marine casualty” under 46 CFR sec. 4.05-1 (a) (7)  (currently $25,000),  and for reporting a “serious marine incident” (“SMI”) under 46 CFR sec. 4.03-2 (a) (3) (currently $100,000). The new thresholds being advanced would be $72,000 and $200,000, respectively.

The legal notice posted in the Federal Register noted that the purpose of the monetary damage criterion was to ensure that only the more serious casualties get reported, premised on the assumption that higher repair costs are indicative of more serious casualties. The new thresholds were developed  by applying an inflation adjustment factor of 1.876 for the marine casualty figure, and  an inflation adjustmentfactor of 1.004 for the SMI figure. The adjustment factors were calculated to represent the value of inflation since the dates that the respective threshold figures were originally set (1980 for the marine casualty figure, and 1988 for the SMI figure, respectively).            

The impetus for these proposed changes seems to have come largely from industry who have complained recently about having to spend too much time reporting “minor” casualties. Public comments to the Office of Management and Budget were received through March 24, 2017. A Coast Guard spokesperson stated that the timeline for adoption of the final rule will depend upon “public feedback” and upon “agency considerations”.