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NOAA Small Boat Policy

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  1. NOAA Small Boat Policy Boats, Operators, and Operations

  2. LESSON 2 NOAA Small Boat Policy • What is NOAA’s Small Boat Policy? • Where did it come from? • Have you read it?

  3. Learning Objectives • To familiarize NOAA Small Boat Operators (SBOs) with: • Documents from which the policy is derived • Its background and purpose • What it has to say about boats, boat operators and boat operations

  4. Policy Documents • NAO 209-125, “NOAA Small Boat Safety Program” • “NOAA Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual” (“The NOAA Manual”)

  5. Relationships of the Policy Documents • NAO 217-103 was the old policy until 2008 • NAO 209-125 superceded 217-103 • The details of the new policy are explained in the NOAA Manual • This presentation is based on NAO 209-125 and the detailed information in the NOAA Manual.

  6. Scope, Roles, and Responsibilities • Applies to all NOAA personnel operating or managing a NOAA small boat • Non-NOAA personnel operating or managing a NOAA boat • Everyone aboard (scientists, passengers, students, contractors, reporters, etc.)

  7. Director OMAO Small Boat Safety Board (SBSB) Small Boat Program Coordinator (SBPC) Line Office Small Boat Officer (LOSBO) Information Flow Program Director Vessel Operations Coordinator (VOC) Operator in Charge (OIC) Small Boat Operator (SBO) Crew & Mission Personnel

  8. On the Water Chain of Command Operator in Charge (OIC) Information Flow Small Boat Operator (SBO) Crew Information Flow Mission Personnel

  9. Small Boat Program Website • For assistance in understanding, discussing, and implementing the policy see www.sbp.noaa.gov

  10. Background • Boats take people to an environment in which they cannot survive on their own • NOAA boat operations involve additional and unique risks

  11. Background • NOAA Small Boat Operators have had good success throughout the years, but they have also had serious mishaps • To promote success and reduce mishaps, NOAA mandated the creation of policies and procedures for a Small Boat Safety Program in 2002

  12. Purpose • To: • Reduce mishaps and environmental damage • Promote mission success • Comply with applicable regulations • Reduce personal and institutional liability

  13. Purpose • Adherence to a uniform and standardized boat operations policy is a proven method to achieve these goals

  14. Purpose • NOAA’s Small Boat Safety Policy is still under construction • Comments of SBOs and Crewmembers are not only a required part of the policy, but essential to its success

  15. NOAA Small Boats, Operators, and Operations • NOAA small boats should only be used for official purposes • They are not to be used for transportation of non-mission critical passengers unless • There is some good reason to do so (i.e., it is in the interest of the Government) • An emergency requires it

  16. Boat Classes • Class A: less that 16 feet in length overall • Class I: 16 to <26 feet • Class II: 26 to <40 feet • Class III: 40 to 65 feet • Small Research Vessel (SRV): greater than 65 feet, but less that 300 gross tons

  17. Boat Management • Buying Boats • Altering boats • Stability

  18. Boat Management Stability • Must be assessed following an alteration • Is essential for determining safe operation • If stability is not properly assessed by qualified personnel during or after an alteration, contact the NOAA Small Boat Engineer before operating an altered boat

  19. Boat Management • Repairs • Inspections of boats: Classes, ASBE, SBEX, Trailers • “Do not operate” order

  20. ASBE: Annual Small Boat Evaluation • Performed annually on Class A, I, and II • Performed by the VOC or designee • Performed IAW The NOAA Manual • Appropriate “Checklist and Outline” for that class of boat

  21. SBEX: Small Boat Examination • Performed by a certified marine surveyor, USCG Marine Inspector, OEM certified technician, or qualified NOAA employee with guidance from the VOC • Performed every 2 years for Class II • Every 3 years for Class I • Not required for Class A.

  22. Boat Equipment • Derived from USCG and SOLAS, and • NOAA policy

  23. Types of Equipment • Emergency equipment • Communication and navigation equipment • “Other” equipment

  24. PFDs and Thermal PPE: Class A and I • Everyone aboard must wear an approved “Personal Use” PFD (like a Type III) • In cold water (59 °F monthly average), or where risk of hypothermia exists, an approved thermal protective PFD must be readily available (like a float coat, anti-exposure suit, or immersion suit) • Carry required “throwable devices”

  25. PFDs and Thermal PPE: Class II, III, and SRVs • PFDs: Same as Class A and I with exceptions + Type I for all aboard • Immersion suits in cold water or hypothermia risk: training required before getting underway; requirement for training can be waived for observers if a suitable survival craft is carried • Observe Storage and Labeling requirements • Must have a light and whistle • Carry required “throwable” devices

  26. Coms, Nav, and Other Equipment • Communications and Navigation equipment: NOAA Manual, Appendix E • “Other Equipment” may be required locally

  27. Boat Manuals • SBOM (VOM) • SSBP (VP) • OEM

  28. NOAA Boat Identification • Requires the identification and registration of all NOAA small boats • Generally: painted white or bare aluminum (with obvious exceptions) • NOAA emblem and ID number should be prominent • Guidance can be found: • In the NOAA Manual, Section 14 • At www.sbp.noaa.gov

  29. NOAA Small Boats, Operators, and Operations • NOAA small boats should only be operated by authorized SBOs (or other authorized personnel)

  30. Training Requirements • Class A, I, and II boats: • USCG Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship (or equivalent) • NOAA Component training (what we are now doing) • PQS • CPR and First Aid

  31. Training Requirements • Class III and SRV: • Appropriate USCG License or Uniformed Services OOD • NOAA Component • PQS • CPR and First Aid

  32. NOAA Manual Training Requirements • The NOAA Manual expands the training requirements to include: • Supervised time on board • Completion of a Qualification Checklist • Documentation of training • Delinquency if records are not maintained • SBOs, with the VOC, need to make sure their records are current and properly maintained

  33. Boat Crew Training • The NOAA Manual recognizes the need for crewmember training in: • Small boat seamanship • Small boat equipment operations (like winches and A-frames)

  34. Safe Manning • The NOAA Manual (Section 5) addresses safe manning levels for: • The classes of boats • Number of passengers on board • Length of operation

  35. Succession to Command • NOAA Manual Section 5 requires that the succession to command is defined if the OIC is incapacitated • The OIC makes this clear during the mission pre-brief

  36. Watch Standing • NOAA Manual Section 7 specifies: • Watch standing duration and minimum rest period for SBOs and crew members • The OIC shall make every effort to avoid situations requiring that anyone be on duty in excess of 12 hours in one day.

  37. NOAA Small Boats, Operators and Operations • The policy requires that any NOAA small boat operation: • Adheres to high standards of seamanship and conduct • Commences with a mission pre-brief that includes an operational risk assessment • Follows a float plan that includes a communications plan and emergency contact procedures • Checks the weather prior to departure and monitors it while underway

  38. NOAA Manual Provisions The NOAA Manual provides further guidance and additional requirements regarding: • A timely mission pre-brief • Proper start-up, shut-down, and post operation procedures IAW a written checklist • Float plans and overdue vessels

  39. Accident Reporting • Requirements for reporting accidents are found in: • NAO 209-125, Section 3.08 • The NOAA Manual, Section 10 • www.sbp.noaa.gov/resources/incident_reporting.html • Reportable accidents include obvious serious accidents (e.g. a serious injury), environmental damage, and equipment failure • Minor incidents and “close calls” should also be reported

  40. Investigations • Accident investigations are required if the cause is not clearly evident • A major purpose of accident investigations and mishap reporting is to distribute lessons learned among other SBOs • The identities of those involved will remain anonymous in this distribution process

  41. Additional Provisions • IAW common uniform small boat policies, the NOAA Manual addresses additional topics: • Emergency procedures (Section 9) • Hazardous materials (Section 11)

  42. Summary and Conclusion • Uniform, standardized boat operation policies have been proven to be effective • They cannot succeed without the participation and guidance of the boat operators themselves • Any questions?