United States Department of the Interior

Operations Section

November 2, 1972


Subject: PERSONNEL - Boat Safety

A motor launch owned and operated by the USGS was cited recently by the U.S. Coast Guard for operating without 
identification and without sufficient life-saving equipment. The “Report of Boarding” filed by the Coast Guard 
also noted that the boarding officer warned against "cabin-top riding" and ordered the craft back to its moorings 
until it complied with minimal safety requirements.

The citation was discussed with the headquarters office of the Coast Guard. They recommended that public (WRD)
vessels comply with the “Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971” as they would apply to a privately owned vessel.

All boats owned by the Survey shall be identified. This can be done in either of two ways; (1) identify as government 
property or, (2) register with the state. The Coast Guard recommends use of 3-inch high letters which can be obtained
at most Marine Supply stores. Painted letters may be substituted if more convenient.

The Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 requires sufficient lifesaving devices for each person aboard the vessel. The 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations state: “Employees working over or near water, where the 
danger of drowning exists, shall be provided with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or buoyant work vests. WRD 
Memorandum No. 67.79 set forth Division work practices which are in compliance with the regulations stated above.

This memorandum is a reminder to each employee of the water safety policy of the Division. We suggest that each 
supervisor again bring WRD Memorandum No. 67.79 to the attention of all employees.

J. S. Cragwall, Jr.
Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Operations

WRD Distribution: A, B, S, FO, P0