Is there a book about boat building standards, classifications, rules and regulations?

Discussion in 'Education' started by JamesG, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 82
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Virginia

    JamesG Junior Member

    Hi guys, I guess my other post was too long and confusing, so I rewrote some questions that I’m hoping someone can answer. If I’m taking the wrong approach, please let me know :)

    Stability tests-
    Does a recreational vessel need to pass a stability test? Does that requirement change whether it’s registered with the state or documented with the US Coast Guard?

    Passenger for hire in the USA –
    Is it OK if a passenger swims out to a vessel for a passenger for higher situation? I thought I heard once that passengers have to start off from a commercial dock. Once underway it makes sense that the passengers would be able to go to and from the shore by swimming, etc., but maybe that’s not allowed when they begin and end a trip?

    Passenger for hire in foreign countries-
    If I build this vessel in the USA and try to make money with passengers in other countries (passengers from those countries would pay money to be on board, rather than US passengers doing a long cruise into foreign countries), what’s the best way to register it? Should I register it as a recreational vessel with the state of California, where I currently reside, or document it with US Coast Guard or something else? If each country requires that I have a locally built vessel when taking passengers for money then how can I get around this? Can I simply re-register my US built vessel in their country or get some kind of permit?

    Thanks!

    @Ike @jehardiman
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 1,251
    Likes: 347, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Apologies if the answers to these questions are already in one of your previous replies - I had a scan through, but couldn't see any.

    Re the modules being joined together - how are you proposing to join them? Nuts and bolts, quick release fasteners, welding.....?
    How many modules will be joined together to make one raft? If you had modules that are 30' long x 11' high x 8' wide, would you then have say three lashed together to create a 30' long x 24' wide platform?
    How many people are you realistically expecting to be able to carry on eg a 3 module raft?

    If the modules / rafts are simply anchored off a beach, and people swim out to them, or are ferried out in a tender, then the rules for this should be much simpler than if the rafts actually undertake passages with people on board.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  3. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 82
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Virginia

    JamesG Junior Member

    Hopefully you can enlarge these photos. I can re-upload them if you need me to.
    44AEB364-1148-4BA4-AFA3-3DFB2B556A02.jpeg

    B7E65203-36BA-4746-8947-7894231BEE31.jpeg
    So far it seems like the best idea for joining the modules together is to use long steaks with a dog bone profile. The advantage to using these is that you can to stay out of the water when joining modules together.

    I’m not sure what the maximum size of the platform will be, but the beauty of it is that you can add more modules over time as you can afford it so it could potentially be very large like a football field. Initially I would be happy with something stable at about 30‘ x 40‘.

    I’m not sure how many people or how much weight a module could hold yet, but once I understand the rules/laws I can design around that. One of my requirements is the ability to have a high concentration of people on the platform because I would like to have various events on it. These events could be free or for money. Ideally each module will be registered as a recreational vessel so I don’t have to build it to standards and can hold 6-12 people. With this in mind the three module raft that you’re asking about could hold 12 to 48 people. Realistically, this probably wouldn’t be possible until the platform is a lot bigger because that’s when it becomes more stable. With only a few modules the platform is likely to tip over.

    Each module will be difficult to put in the water and transport because it’s so easy for it to tip over. As you can see in my second image I am considering adding temporary buoyancy on the sides and/or the ability to add water as ballast.

    I would like to know your ideas. It sounds like you’re thinking that if the platform is stationary and never used for transporting people or goods on the water then it doesn’t need to be registered as a vessel at all. It’s true that it will primarily be anchored and people will just swim out to it, paddle out on surfboards and take boats to it most of the time. However, I’m a little worried that if it’s not registered as a vessel it could be considered a structure in the water that needs to follow a city or county’s zoning requirements. Also, I would like to travel with it internationally, so ideally it would be self-propelled, but I guess I’m open to the idea of having no passengers on board and simply pulling it with another vessel until anchoring it in the next spot and then having people on it again.
     
  4. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
    Posts: 819
    Likes: 316, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    James, I think your problem has two sides, the nautical and business. For the nautical stuff you call the coastguard and present them with a problem they can understand: "Guys, I have 6 unpowered barges, I want to lash them together, anchor in front of a beach and trow a big party on them. What do you want from me to make this happen legally?" They probably tell you that you need stability analysis, life jackets and rafts for the maximum approved number of persons, etc., right down to the size of your "Emergency exit" signs.

    For the business side you need achoring permits, party permit, alcohol permit, sales tax on tickets and whatever else the federal government, state, county, city, etc. deems necessary to impose. You will need to consult lawyers experienced in this type of business. If you want to move your dog and pony show trough the whole USA better hire some lawyers that know how to get you the permits nationwide (people that do concert tours, traveling shows, etc.), because rules are different in a different place, only the federal stuff remains the same.
    If you want to go into international waters, your flag regulations still apply, meaning that on an american boat 1000 miles offshore it is still illegal to serve alcohol to someone under 21, or to possess controlled substances.

    Internationally (meaning in a foreign country) it's mostly the same. Most nations don't care where a boat is buildt or registered (plenty of charter yachts under a flag of convenience), but they care very much if you pay the taxes and have the correct permits to do your business in their back yard. That means either your lawyers know the local rules, or you hire another set of them, local to the place you want to perform. One thing you can not do for sure is show up and start selling tickets to your show.
     
    JamesG and bajansailor like this.
  5. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,404
    Likes: 283, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Have you looked up the definition of passengers for hire?

    30)
    passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.

    What this means is the people can contribute nothing. In simpler terms your pay for everything. If they buy something, a ticket, a drink, a t-shirt, whatever, and that money flows to you, then it's carrying passengers for hire. If getting on board is contingent on contributing something then that is a consideration. There is also a definition in law of consideration.,
    (5)
    consideration” means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.

    So if two buddies want to go fishing and the one who doesn't own the boat says, "hey, I'll pay for the beer", that's not a consideration because he volunteered. But if the buddy who owns the boat says, "I'll take you fishing, but only if you pay for the gas", then that is a consideration. So are you planning to let these people party for free? I doubt that. So now you are taking passengers for hire. Doesn't matter if it's anchored, un-powered etc. There have been in the past, entrepreneurs who have held boxing matches, events, gambling, etc on barges anchored offshore. What you want to do is not different, except for the modules part.

    I think what Rumars said is very good. You need to break this down and deal with each part separately. Otherwise it's just too confusing.

    You need a professional engineer or naval architect to assist you with the design and submit it to the Coast Guard. There is no way this is going to be considered a recreational vessel, considering what you plan to do with it. Even recreational boats have to meet certain standards, and these modules are going to be pretty big.

    You need to consult an attorney who practices maritime law. They can sort out all the conflicting requirements for permits, licenses etc.
     
    Barry, Rumars, JamesG and 1 other person like this.
  6. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 2,763
    Likes: 357, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    I concur, having people swim to/from the platform is rife with problems and needs a state and legal specific look. I will admit that I have swam to a vessel I purchased a trip on back in the mid-1970's... it was 1 mile offshore... but that was for my NAUI SCUBA Diver certification and there was a chase boat with divers onboard close at hand watching us.
     
    JamesG likes this.
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,404
    Likes: 283, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Swimming to a vessel offshore is never recommended, is risky at best and a huge liability. The Coast Guard says, Throw, don't go, for a reason. When people swim off a boat or fall overboard, and someone jumps in after them, they far too often both drown.
     
    jehardiman likes this.
  8. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 2,763
    Likes: 357, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    As a lifeguard and sailing instructor I have been in the water after somebody exactly one (1) time. After I got her back in her boat and I got back in mine I can recall muttering to my shivering self "That was stupid..That was stupid..."
     
    BlueBell and JamesG like this.
  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,404
    Likes: 283, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    People over estimate their swimming ability, way underestimate how cold the water is, and don't even consider how hard it is to get back into a boat from the water. Plus that, if the boat isn't anchored, or you aren't fastened to the boat by a line, and there is any wind at all the boat will drift away faster than you can swim. When I was on Coast Guard ships and we would have swim call, we always had a person assigned as rescue swimmer, had a small boat over the side, and we always swam off the leeward side so the ship would drift down on us. Also a person with a rifle as shark guard (usually me) up on the bridge.
     
    BlueBell likes this.
  10. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 2,763
    Likes: 357, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    What sticks with me now is the fact that I was the only one actually wearing a PFD (Type 3). It was an early spring day in Michigan, a rated skipper and his crew got into trouble while I was out giving an advanced sailing test. We saw them go over and she got separated from the boat, and I called to my student to do an upwind approach to her...but he fell about 5 feet short. I tossed him the jib sheets and told him to come around again and went over the side. I reached out my left arm and let her grab it but held on to her shirtfront so she didn't climb over me. With my extra flotation under my foulies, I swam us both back to her 470 just as her skipper (boyfriend?) had it righted. By the time my student had come around again, I was ready to pull myself aboard.....it was only after I was aboard that I realized how stupid that was...
     
    JamesG likes this.
  11. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 82
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Virginia

    JamesG Junior Member

    Thank you all for responding! Everyone made some really good points.

    The nautical side:
    I’ve emailed the USCG back and forth about this a few years ago and from what I understand if it’s used for 100% recreational use it does not need to be built to standards and I’m pretty sure if I remember correctly it does not need to pass a stability test, but I should double check on that. We also talked about how people can rent recreational vessels. Ike’s example about consideration and passengers for hire is exactly what I remember learning. Apparently a person can rent a recreational vessel and have up to 12 guests on it as long as they don’t offer consideration to the guy renting it. The guy renting it would be the captain. My thinking is that if I rent a module which is registered as a recreational vessel, I can throw an event that way. A sticky situation could be that the module remains connected to the other modules, so they don’t have control over where they go, which could be a problem legally. In fact this whole project is insanely complicated and I probably need to lawyer up from the beginning to make sure it’s done right. Unfortunately I don’t have enough money to go that route, so my plan is to rely on starting a clothing line and using the platform to promote it. By doing that I can keep the platform 100% recreational and still make money. Once I have money I can take all of your suggestions and hire lawyers, naval architects etc so I can start throwing events. About swimming to the platform: I think you guys are probably imagining that it’s anchored far from the shore, but I’m talking about only maybe 100-300 yards from shore or 2-3 times past the breakers, so theoretically no big deal for anyone with a surfboard or decent swimming ability. I suppose if they are coming out for fun that’s ok, but if they are paying then that might not be allowed.

    Business side:
    When operating recreationally in the beginning and if each module is registered as a recreational vessel, I doubt the city, county etc. can tell me that I can’t anchor it alongside other recreational vessels unless maybe it’s too big or something, right? I am a little worried about loading a recreational module/vessel into the water on a boat ramp though, so I should probably ask harbor patrol about that. When doing anything commercial I totally agree that there will probably be lots of permits to get and they may not even allow it. I’ll need professional help to make that happen.

    All in all, I just wanna say thank you guys for all the comments because it really does help put things into perspective. I think I’ll come up with some complete drawings and email the Coast Guard one more time since it’s been a while. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to build each module as a recreational vessel, but the stability tests are the main thing on my mind. After making money by selling clothing I’ll go the commercial route, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep the modules the same size and simply expand by adding commercial modules to it. As you can imagine this is a super daunting project for one person, but if I can just get the bare minimum in the water and start selling clothing then the whole thing will slowly come to life and evolve.
     
  12. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 82
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Virginia

    JamesG Junior Member

    Lol I can imagine! One time me and a friend took a little 12’ sailboat out into the ocean in Malibu when it was super windy. We had to paddle like crazy because we launched from the beach and had to make it past some rocks before drifting into them. We knew it was going to be risky, so we had a plan and just BARELY made it past the rocks which was awesome then the chaos got even worse as we struggled to put the sail up and drifted downwind. The boom snapped off and we ended up beached a few hundred yards away. It was AWESOME! It was a short adventure that seemed to last a lifetime!
     
  13. JamesG
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 82
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: Virginia

    JamesG Junior Member

    Was she actually at risk of drowning though? Hopefully she wasn’t acting too crazy. It’s good that you didn’t let her climb onto you because drowning people can freak out and cause you both to die.

    I hate those awkward/dumb boating moments too. Mine have mostly been in relation to throwing lines and missing, drifting while trying to retrieve something and getting nervous about drifting into multimillion dollar yachts. Those were awkward and frustrating times.
     
  14. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 2,763
    Likes: 357, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    NOT!! awesome....The very fact that you need to get into the water means that someone...you....in all the plans and checks and balances...has failed and someone may have died. Yes, I was scared about her. I wanted every day to be soooo boring because that means that everyone you were responsible for did what they needed to do. What are YOU, JamesG, going to do the first time some drunk doesn't make it back to shore? It is more than awkward, it is devastating to one or more persons. Grow up you inconsiderate fool.
     

  15. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
    Posts: 819
    Likes: 316, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    James, I think you missed my point. You can not do this without lawyers or stability calculations. Your boat is not operating recreationally, it is clearly engaged in some form of commercial enterprise (promotion, advertising, etc.). Passengers for hire is not the only commercial activity on the water. You need lawyers to sort this out for you according to local rules and tell you what is what.

    Let me give you a scenario of what can happen without the propper stability calculations. Your raft is anchored in front the beach, 12 well fed young bodybuilders swim out to check your offerings. While you pile the merchandise on them, one screams "nice ****". Next thing you know 1.5 metric ton of Terminator lookalikes run to one corner of your raft causing it to pitchpole. The horny youngsters end up in the water and the raft comes crashing down over their heads. You end up with 12 counts of manslaughter and your clothing line is reduced to orange jumpsuits and white underwear.
    If you think this is some BS scenario I dreamed up to scare you, there was a whale watching boat that did excatly that, only with well fed middle age tourists that yelled "there she blows".
    You need stabiliy calculations for any possible configuration you can do with your modules under worst scenarios, like all people in a corner jumping up and down (rave party for a football team).
     
    bajansailor likes this.
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.