homemade boat regulations for 72 ft barge

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Bahamian Barge, May 1, 2015.

  1. Bahamian Barge
    Joined: May 2015
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    Location: Bahamas

    Bahamian Barge Bahamas Barge Capt

    Hello, I run a small (34 ft) pontoon barge here in the Bahamas, it is a small family business with less than 10,000 people in the area. I am planning on having a larger pontoon style motorized barge built in the USA that once completed I would bring to the Bahamas. It would not be for commercial use in the USA, however I would need to sail the vessel down the intercoastal water way and across to the Bahamas. I am understanding that if I hire by contract a fabricator (who is a friend in South Carolina) to contruct this barge and if I purchase the supplies and components I would technically be legally understood as the builder and that of what can legally be defined as a homemade boat, and that by so doing it would not be required to meet any building standards as prescribed by the USA as long as it would not be sold in the USA. That much I feel pretty confident about. However, it seems that my original plans of a 60 ft. boat is going to be a little too small, and im wondering if passing the 65 ft. limit will cause me to face greater requirements. There are essentially no requirements that the Bahamas would require other than some simple things like life jackets, first aid kit, flares, bilge pumps, etc. But my concerns are what will the USA or the USCG require of me or of this boat as I travel through the USA on my way to the Bahamas?
    I would greatly appreciate any help or guidance anyone could offer to us. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: GulfCoast

    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    As long as your motorized barge remains under 79 feet in length, it doesn't need a load line for the trip between the US and the Bahamas. In the intracoastal waterway, which is a protected body of water, a load line is not required at all.

    Since you are capable of getting underway, you will need to equip your vessel with the proper navigation lights, especially since you are making at least one international voyage. These lights can be battery-powered; just make sure you have enough batteries for the trip.

    As a motorized vessel, it's technically not a barge, at least as far as USCG regulations are concerned. If you are not carrying passengers for hire on your delivery trip, it's not a passenger vessel either.

    I don't think you'll need to meet any USCG regs except for carrying adequate lifesaving gear on your delivery trip and sufficient firefighting equipment.

    I don't know what the vessel registration requirements are for the Bahamas, but you might want to start the registration process while the vessel is being constructed, so that upon its completion, you'll be a foreign vessel, not subject to USCG laws, except for navigation and personnel safety.
     
  3. Bahamian Barge
    Joined: May 2015
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    Location: Bahamas

    Bahamian Barge Bahamas Barge Capt

    Dear Mr. Naval Artichoke, Thanks so much for your assistance! Is there anyplace that you can direct me that would officially and authoritatively state this that I could print off to provide to any authorities that would question me?
    Also if my ramp can stow in a vertical position so that it does not add to the length of the boat would that pass for the official length or would it measure in the horizontal position?
    Thanks!
     
  4. NavalSArtichoke
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    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    Unfortunately, there is no one place where I can direct you to go for this information. However, the USCG web sites are a useful reference to have handy:

    https://www.uscg.mil/

    http://www.uscg.mil/hq/msc/ {for the Marine Safety Center}

    Since you are having the vessel constructed in South Carolina, I urge you to ask the builder to contact and discuss this project with the local USCG office to see if they can resolve any outstanding questions or other issues. CG personnel have always been helpful in answering any questions of this nature.

    The determination of the length of your vessel, for the purposes of the load line regulations, is based on the waterline length of the hull, not the overall length. I don't think the stowed position of your ramp is going to influence the load line length.

    As the design of your vessel evolves, and more information about its arrangement is determined, I would check the load line regs again to make sure your vessel remains under the 79-foot limit.

    In any event, if the only international voyage you intend to make is the delivery trip from the US to the Bahamas, there is a good chance that a single voyage waiver letter can be obtained from the USCG so that you do not have to meet the LL requirements should your vessel wind up longer than 79 feet.
     
  5. Bahamian Barge
    Joined: May 2015
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    Location: Bahamas

    Bahamian Barge Bahamas Barge Capt

    Thanks again Mr. Naval Artichoke. Much appreciated information!
     
  6. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Are, he asked realizing he'll never have an 80' boat (but I can dream, right?), there other things besides load lines that hit at 79' (in addition to the things that hit at 20m)?

    Determining load lines themselves are probably, well, to be the cynic I'm, as arduous an ordeal as federal regulations can conspire to make them ... so far ;) ... but even then they don't seem like determining them should be that involved.
     
  7. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    Except Load Line regulations are international, like SOLAS and MARPOL, and the U.S. is a signatory to the International Convention on Load Lines of 1966 and as modified by the Protocol of 1988. The language of the Convention has pretty much been copied into the Federal regulations verbatim. In any event, in the U.S., the actual load line calculation and assignment have been delegated to the American Bureau of Shipping by the USCG. Applications for LL assignment go thru the ABS rather than the USCG.
     

  8. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    There are Safety regulations in the Bahamas for small commercial vessels that are based on IMO and USCG Subchapter T regulations (small passenger vessels carrying more tan 6 passengers and under 100 gross tons.) You need to contact the marine safety Office in your area, http://www.uscg.mil/hq/msc/, and you also need to look at http://www.bahamasmaritime.com/index.php?page=20 Code of Safety For Small Commercial Vessel Operating In The Caribbean

    Start by calling the marine safety center and then get from them the address and phone of the nearest Marine Safety Office. In short if you build to USCG regs for small passenger vessels you should satisfy Bahamas standards. Be aware the USCG will require you to submit plans for approval, and inspect the vessel during build for compliance.

    Sorry I couldn't answer your question when you e-mailed me but I did some research and learned some new stuff.
     
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