Survey Manual

412.1 - Watercraft

This chapter establishes policies and procedures governing the acquisition, management, and operation of watercraft and equipment owned by the USGS or operated by USGS employees in the performance of assigned duties.


OPR: Admin/Facilities and Management Services

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policies and procedures governing the acquisition, management, and operation of watercraft and equipment owned by the USGS or operated by USGS employees in the performance of assigned duties. It involves matters of watercraft registration, inspection, identification, preventive maintenance, safety, and reporting with regard to Government-owned, rental, or leased equipment.

2. Objective. These regulations are designed to achieve the greatest degree of efficiency, economy, and service in the administration and management of watercraft and associated equipment used by the USGS for the accomplishment of its mission.

3. Policy.

A. It is Departmental and USGS policy that the acquisition and operation of watercraft will, as a minimum, be in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Regulations and Standards (33 CFR Subchapter S and 46 CFR Part 25). In the event of any conflict between provisions of the U.S. Coast Guard and Departmental regulations and standards, the more stringent requirement will apply (IPMR 114-38.5502).

B. No officer or employee of the Federal Government will use, or authorize the use of, any Government-owned or leased watercraft for other than official purposes as defined in IPMR 114-38.50.

4. Responsibilities.

A. The Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services is responsible for promulgating policies and procedures concerning the acquisition, utilization, disposal, and reporting of watercraft. The Office:

(1) Provides assistance and guidance as required to accountable employees for the administration of watercraft in their areas of responsibility.

(2) Reviews watercraft reports to assess performance and makes determinations for possible reassignments to enhance utilization.

(3) Provides individuals (designated by the Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services) to represent USGS in dealing with other Government agencies (e.g., U.S. Coast Guard, Defense Department, and GSA) on all matters relating to acquisition or operation of watercraft for the USGS.

B. The Regional Management Officers (RMOs) are responsible for functions in SM 412.1.4A regarding accountable employees of their Regions.

C. The Divisions and Offices are responsible for the supervision of accountable employees in the operation, maintenance, and administration of watercraft under their jurisdiction.

D. The Chief, Office of Procurement and Contracts is responsible for providing staff assistance and guidance in the procurement of new watercraft and associated equipment or services for the USGS.

E. The Chief, Office of Financial Management is responsible for processing and recording all financial transactions regarding the watercraft fleet.

F. USGS Accountable Employees are responsible for operation, preventive maintenance, safeguard, storage, and reporting of assigned watercraft. Each makes arrangements, in coordination with RMOs or Office of Facilities and Management Services, for the necessary disposal of assigned watercraft.

5. Definitions.

A. Watercraft means boats and ships collectively, including airboats, sailboats, and every description of watercraft except seaplanes, which are (1) used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water, and (2) propelled by machinery whether or not such machinery is the principle source of propulsion (IPMR 114-38.5501).

B. Ocean-Going Vessels, as applied to this chapter, are watercraft licensed as ocean-going transportation.

6. Acquisition of Watercraft.

A. Requisition. Any procurement of new water craft and associated equipment or services must be initiated in accordance with the requisitioning policies and procedures prescribed in SM 402.3 and 404.10. Justification for procurement must include evidence that requester has endeavored to make use of watercraft or services available within Government sources of procurement and that the requirements for new or modified watercraft in

IPMR 114-38.5505/.5506 are met.

B. Identification. Registered watercraft shall have the registration number displayed on each side of the bow in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Regulations. The registration number must be cited on all forms relating to the watercraft. Other identification requirements for watercraft are contained in IPMR 114-38.5507.

C. Accountability. The procedures relative to establishing accountability for watercraft are identical to those for controlled property (SM 408.6). All documents indicating ownership, issued by the manufacturer of the watercraft, will be forwarded to the Branch of Property Management, Office of Facilities and Management Services, USGS, MS 210, Reston, VA 20192.

7. Utilization of Watercraft.

A. Operator's Practices. Operators of Government-owned and leased watercraft will be properly trained and licensed, observe local water craft navigation laws, and fully understand other associated Department and U.S. Coast Guard regulations governing boating safety and seaman ship. Watercraft of USGS will be operated at all times with safety as the primary requirement. When accidents or incidents occur, they will be reported expeditiously in accordance with IPMR 114-38.5512 and Chapter 5.3 of the USGS Safety Handbook, 445.1-H.

B. Training. Approved courses to qualify USGS employees as watercraft operators in boating safety, first aid, and seamanship are listed in IPMR 114-38.5508. Operators are required to successfully complete the prescribed courses to obtain required U.S. Coast Guard appropriate licenses. All employees who operate any watercraft must receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation training.

C. Associated Equipment Requirements. U.S. Coast Guard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and State or local Government regulations influence the requirements for special associated equipment and fire control systems for particular watercraft (e.g., personal flotation and signaling devices, radio communications, navigational aids, bilge pumps, first aid kits, anchors, running lights, and compliance checklist). Such equipment requirements and related regulations are contained in IPMR 114-38.5509/.5510. To ensure compliance with the various Governmental regulations, each USGS watercraft must contain a compliance checklist for each state in which that watercraft is operated.

D. Inspections. Each USGS watercraft will be inspected at least once annually to determine that the watercraft is seaworthy and being maintained in a safe operating condition. Inspections will be made by qualified personnel. Checklists provided in Chapter 12 of the USGS Safety Handbook, 445-1-H, may be used to assist the inspector. U.S. Coast Guard inspection services will be utilized when available (IPMR 114-38.5511).

E. Drills and Evaluations. The supervisor of any watercraft with a crew of 3 or more must:

(1) Hold safety meetings at least once each month during the operating season.

(2) Conduct fire and abandon ship drills at least once each month during the operating season, and record each drill in the ship's log.

(3) Post in a conspicuous place, a Station Bill covering fire drills, abandon ship drills, man overboard drills, and other emergency procedures.

8. Disposal of Watercraft. The procedures for the disposal of watercraft are as prescribed for Personal Property Management (Other than Vehicles), SM 408.9.

9. Reports.

A. Watercraft.

(1) Annual Report. A report must be rendered annually by the USGS accountable employee of a Division or Office on each Ocean-going vessel (26 feet or more in length) owned, leased, or on loan from another Government agency. This report must be submitted by memorandum, through channels, to the Branch of Property Management, Office of Facilities and Management Services, as such vessels are acquired, and annually on November 1 - (Report Control Symbol ADM-OFMS-90-01). The initial report must include the information listed below and subsequent reports should reflect only those items subject to change, e.g., items (f), (g), (h), (i), (j) and (k).

(a) Make, model, size and year manufactured.

(b) USGS identification number.

(c) Method of acquisition and market cost.

(d) USGS-owned, leased, or on loan. From whom obtained.

(e) Passenger and/or cargo capacity.

(f) Base location.

(g) Mission.

(h) Operator(s) and crew. List names and salaries (include salaries in Item i).

(i) Total operation and maintenance cost for preceding Fiscal Year (FY).

(j) Total hours of operation for reported FY.

(k) If vessel is inoperative, state reason and indicate action to be taken.

B. Accidents and Incidents. The USGS employee in charge of any watercraft must report all accidents and incidents involving watercraft on Form DI-134 (Report of Accident/ Incident) and report on U.S. Coast Guard Form CG-3865 (Boating Accident Report) any accident which results in the loss of life, injury causing incapacitation in excess of 72 hours, or property damage in excess of $200. Procedures for submission of these reports are contained in Chapter 5.3, USGS Handbook, 445-1-H.