COI questions

My boat is due to have a COI soon, it’s my first one and I have a few questions…

Is it normal practice to gather all of the life jackets, survival suits and every fire extinguisher and place them in one location to make it easier on the CG inspectors?

This is what my skipper wants us to do and I have a real problem with the removal of the fire extinguishers…Especially the ones from the engine room…Isn’t part of the inspection the proper labeling of the fire equipment, proper stowage and mounting?


Yes! the skipper is right as far as the life-jackets and survival suits go. Although you are also right in your thoughts. I don’t usually collect fire extinguishers and most times the CG will expect to see them correctly mounted, but maybe the Skipper knows the particular habits of the inspector. Best thing is to just observe this time around, do as the skipper asks, and learn from it.

The inspection of safety equipment is not just to see that everything is onboard, but also to see that everything is in its proper place and secured properly. If you have all of your logs and other paperwork out in an organized manner on a table ready for review, that would make your inspection go smoother.

With regard to your extinguishers, you should have paperwork for the servicing and monthly reports of inspections. I would think that they might want to actually spot check a small percentage of the extinguishers.

As far as collecting all of your extinguishers and putting them in one place, I would think that you would have violated the spirit, if not the letter of your COI.

At a recent inspection-

Q…Do you have an Oil Record Book onboard?

Q…Is it available for inspection?

Q…Where do you keep it?
A…In my stateroom.

Q…May I see it?

Q…Would you please go get it for me?
A…All you had to do was ask.

Don’t offer anything they don’t ask for directly.

Having the fire extinguishers NOT on station is a violation.
Having the lifesaving gear NOT where the Safety Plan says it should be is a violation.

not sure I agree with seadog’s approach. I have been through many an inspection and have found that a friendly demeanor and helpful attitude go a long long way, assuming you are not trying to hide anything.
also, unless captain says otherwise I would leave fire extinguishers where they are (and presumably where they’re supposed to be); sounds to me like he’s getting confused: it IS customary to put them all in one location on deck for actual servicing, but not for an inspection. same with other safety equipment.
but then he is the captain and if he says throw them overboard, then it is your duty to throw them overboard and not argue.
which reminds me of a great sea story…

*first impressions go a long way…if the vessel is well maintained, picked up, everything in it’s place, no safety/fire/trip hazards, dockside access safe and clear, galley in order, all safety/lifesaving/FF equipment in good order and accessible, paperwork current and available, crew know their drills and security, etc…you get my drift…then it is normally “wam-bam-thank you and have a nice day captain”…would hope the vessel has a “punch list” for this…the USCG does??

*typically the more the USCG find wrong the more they will look and the more “concerned” they get!!

*in addition not a bad idea to offer up the hospitality of the vessel’s galley.

**also don’t overlook the security challenge as they come aboard!!

“but then he is the captain and if he says throw them overboard, then it is your duty to throw them overboard and not argue.
which reminds me of a great sea story…”

I strongly disagree!!! Just because a captain gives an order it does not mean it is a Lawful order. You can not ever use the defense in court… He told me to do it.
Leave the extinguishers in place. The Coast Guard inspector will want to see that they are in the proper place, and properly stowed. As far as lifejackets and survival suits you can bring those to a central location for them to inspect.
You guy’s will be fine, the boat is ready… Just a matter of the crew being ready… and I think you will be OK.

I have found during inspections that the inspector will tell you what he/she wants. Also, when looking at lifejackets and survival suits, usually a sample is looked at. If one or two is found satisfactory, they usually forego the rest, but if they start finding poorly maintained, and rotten ones, they go digging. same with survival suits. if they find a dry rotted one, or zippers corroded or not waxed then they go digging. I have NEVER corralled the extinguishers for an inspection. the inspection paper work yes, but not the actual exts. But you aren’t the Capt.l so this decision isn’t yours at this point.

ALSO regarding the oil record book: each completed page must be singed by the master. DOIs must have a start AND completion time on them. DOIs and fuel receipts must match oil record book entrys. and last but not least the oil record book is an OFFICIAL log. NO scribble outs, no white out and no erasures. just like a log book. they are hitting these HARD recently. and dont forget to have the vessel security page from the oil terminal to match the DOI from the date place of fueling.

The devils in the details… But were all much safer now!

Hopefully, nothing is done differently than the other 364 days out of the year. The USCG inspectors simply check how the vessel is maintained and if applicable regulations are followed as required. That should always be the case, and as crew members you just help facilitate the inspector’s needs by providing needed documentation, equipment, and personnel. Usually, when the inspector(s) arrive, they will talk with the Captain and the inspector(s) will establish what they want. I’ve always asked the inspector(s) if they need certain equipment located in a common area for ease of inspection. I never do it before hand, but nothing wrong with it as long as it doesn’t effect your emergency response capability. You just have to use good judgment. There is plenty of time to get the crew to do whatever needs to be done while going over the paperwork and crew documents with the inspectors when they first arrive. That is always first. But, like I said. The Coast Guard can walk up the gangway right now, unexpectedly, and it would be the same routine as if I knew they would be here Monday morning.

Regarding “*in addition not a bad idea to offer up the hospitality of the vessel’s galley.”

A Coastie once told me they were not allowed to eat or drink your grub. Might be poisoned.
I always like to make cookies or brownies and watch 'em drool.

I approach all my COIs as anchorman has suggested, my vessel looks just like it does the other days of the year (well close…). As for the galley, I had fed several inspectors in the past and they seemed grateful.

Good luck, hope you get zero 835s.

Generally I try to have a fresh pot of coffee ready for them and after the deckhand asks them for their ID ask them if they would like something to drink. Doesn’t hurt.

Great insight guys, thank you…

I am sure we’ll get through this fine…I’ve double checked everything twice already…

I am just a little skeptical… I want to learn things the correct way …When I cant get that onboard I have to look elsewhere…This could easily turn into a capt rant so I will stop right here…thanks again…