Off Soundings - Marine Safety Updated: 7 September, 2019

"The accident rarely has a single overwhelming cause. Usually there are a number of elements, none necessarily of outstanding significance in isolation, whose combination proves fatal."

From "Machinery failure" (BRIEFING)
Seatrade Review, December 1994, page 9.
Published by The Seatrade Organization Ltd. Seatrade House, 42 North Station Road, Colchester CO1 1RB, UK.

Home | Marine Safety | Fishing Safety | Commercial Vessel Safety | Coast Guard Historical Statutes

NEW BLOG: U.S. Maritime Safety Network by my good friend and colleague John Cullather.

New Coast Guard Authorization Acts

(P.L. 114-120) "Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015"

(P.L. 112-213) "Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012"

P.L. 111-281, “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010”

For those with a special interested in marine safety see Title V-B and Title VI


USCG: Marine Safety Center (new website)

Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, October 22, 2008

Resolution "Honoring the Heritage of the Coast Gurad" (H.Res 1382 - 2008) in the U.S. House of Representatives, September 29, 2008, AND the report detailing the resolution.

Link to Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs)


PSIX - Home

PSIX - Vessel Search

PSIX - Incident Investigation Reports

For reports for investigations of reportable marine casualties investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard


Rules of the Road


Whither Goes the Coast Guard, 1990, rch

Roles & Missions, 1999, rch

Small Boat Stations & Surf Capable Boats, 2000, rch


U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Bulletin May 2004

Development of Exposure Suits by ERE 1943, 1980, rch

Emergency Care for Hypothermia, rch

Exposure Suits on Certain Inspected Vessels
Report to Congress by U.S.C.G. (mid-1980s)

T-Boat Study / U.S.C.G. / R. L. Markle / 1991
A Study of Lifesaving Systems for Small Passenger Vessels

Cold Injury Clinical Consensus Meeting / 1998

COLD WATER Q & A / 1998

Survival in Cold Waters / 2001
Report prepared for Transport Canada
Dr. C. J. Brooks



U.S. Life-Saving Heritage Association

Association For Rescue At Sea

Small Boat Station and Surf /rch

CG 42001 New Rescue Boat at CG Station. Chatham

CHATHAM, Mass. - (Left to right) A Coast Guard 42-foot motor lifeboat, 36-foot motor lifeboat and 44-foot motor lifeboat gather in front of Coast Guard Station Chatham Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, for what may be the last opportunity for the three lifeboats to ever be underway together again. The 36-foot lifeboat, which is now owned by the Orleans Historical Society of Orleans, Mass., is scheduled for dry dock, and the maintenance may not be completed before the 44-foot lifeboat is decommissioned. The most notable rescue by the 36 was in 1952 when the boat crew rescued 32 men from the tanker Pendleton after it broke in half in 60-foot seas. (Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen)

There two excellent books on the S.S. PENDELTON rescue Two Tankers Down by Robert Frump (which also details the S.S. FORT MERCER rescue as well). Review from Professional Mariner.

And, The Pendleton Disaster off Cape Cod: The Greatest Small Boat Rescue in Coast Guard History by Theresa Mitchell Barbo; John Galluzzo; and Captain W. Russell Webster, USCG (RET)




NTSB - Marine Accident Reports

(Marine Accident Investigation Branch)

North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners Association

"The site for maritime professionals."

See web cam of Astoria

Association for Rescue at Sea


Federal Register / Today's TOC
Look for daily posting of Meeting notices / proposed / final regulations

U.S. CODE all titles

MARINE SAFETY STATUTES 46 U.S.C. Subtitle II pdf / text

Code of Federal Regulations


If you have an interest in receiving periodic
— sometimes daily — emails on any of the marine safety topics below:

CFVS: Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety
USCG: U.S. Coast Guard
OIL: Oil Spills, Offshore Oil Exploration
FISH MGT: Fishery Management
CVS: Commercial Vessel Safety
RVS: Recreational Vessel Safety

Send email to:
Indicating the list(s) of interest to you.


In the wake of the S.S. MARINE ELECTRIC disaster on February 12, 1983, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation (Committee on Merchant Marine & Fisheries) held a series of hearing on marine safety.
Read excerpt from testimony on September 29, 1983 focusing on rescue swimmers.

Excerpt from the book about the Rescue Swimmer Program, So Others Might Live giving a brief sketch of the origins of the program. (You can learn more about the behind the scenes efforts by reading this article.)

Review of So Others Might Live in Wreck and Rescue, the Journal of the U.S. Life-Saving Heritage Association.

Sec. 9 of Public Law 98-557 (98 Stat. 2862, Oct. 30, 1984) A bill to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for fiscal years 1985 and 1986, and for other purposes. "Directs the Secretary to establish a helicopter rescue swimming program to train Coast Guard personnel.", See also Senate Report.

Sec. 9, required Secretary of department in which Coast Guard was operating to use such sums as necessary, from amounts appropriated for operation and maintenance of Coast Guard, to establish helicopter rescue swimming program for purpose of training selected Coast Guard personnel in rescue swimming skills, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 104-324, title II, Sec. 213(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3915.

Also, as a direct result of the MARINE ELECTRIC disaster, Congress required in Sec. 22 of Public Law 98-557 immersion suits on most commercial vessels (except uninspected vessels. e.g. fishing vessels and towing vessels). See also Senate Report.

The definitive work on the S.S. MARINE ELECTRIC disaster is Until the Sea Shall Free Them, by Robert Frump.

Robert R. Frump the nationally recognized journalist who won several major awards while a journalist and investigative reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer. He grew up in the small farm town of Paxton, Ill, graduated from the University of Illinois and received a master's degree from Northwestern University -- all in journalism. He received, with Tim Dwyer, the George Polk Award, for his reporting on unsafe U.S. ships, and the Gerald Loeb Award for National Business Reporting. He was also a member of an Inquirer task force that won the Pulitzer Prize. He is married to Suzanne Saxton-Frump. They have two daughters, Sarah, a student at Brown University, and Caitlin Dean, a software engineer. He is the former managing editor of The Journal of Commerce.

Robert (a good friend and colleague) has just released "I Cover the Waterfront, the articles of Maritime Writer Robert R. Frump, 1980 -2010"

It's a book-length electronic-publication with stories ranging from tug boats on the river, to rescues, to shipyards, to port marketing, oil tanker crossings, aircraft carriers and of course the Marine Electric.

You don't have to own a Kindle to access the book. Just download the Kindle software to your computer or smartphone.

NAVY Memorial, Washington, DC


"When you know you have saved somebody’s life, the only word to describe it is: euphoria. This is what we join the Coast Guard to do — there are many other missions we have — but this what we join the Coast Guard to do, save other lives. There is absolutely no better feeling than when somebody says, "Thanks, you saved my life."

LCDR Laura Guth, USCG,
Speaking about the rescue of the crew, F/V Alaskan Monarch.
From Savage Seas; Killer Waves & Rescues, a PBS presentation