Coast Guard Action Needed To Promote Safer Marine Transportation

CED-79-37: Published: May 21, 1979. Publicly Released: May 21, 1979.

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Navigational aids systems help ensure safe marine transportation and the Coast Guard is responsible for maintaining 50,000 aids to navigation ranging from buoys to computerized vessel traffic management systems. Aids to navigation become more important as marine traffic increases.

Increased marine traffic and volume of cargo, including hazardous material, has led to a growing number of serious accidents. In 1977, 2,330 collisions, rammings, or groundings incurred losses of more than $89 million.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Coast Guard can improve its response to aid discrepancies by: (1) establishing performance standards based on sound data rather than intuitive judgment; (2) making greater use of specially trained and equipped repair teams; (3) changing its personnel practices, especially its policy of transferring staff every 2 years; (4) maintaining an adequate inventory of spare aids and parts by reducing aid losses caused by adverse weather; and (5) reassessing work load distribution for buoy and construction tenders. Coast Guard management of the aids can be improved by exercising its discretionary authority to mark sunken vessels and assuring removal of the vessels by the owners or the Corps of Engineers, establishing procedures for consulting and considering mariners' views on aids, and making sure vessel traffic service systems are the least costly and the most efficient systems to promote safety and facilitate commerce.

    Agency Affected:


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