Safety and Survival Equipment Requirements

241 FW 1
Exhibit 1, 241 FW 1, 9/17/2014
Originating Office
Safety Operations

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) Table



(1) Motorized watercraft

· In watercraft less than 65 feet in length, all personnel must wear a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-approved PFD in open areas unless the watercraft is made fast to the shore, aground, or anchored where there is minimal risk of falling overboard. An operator may require occupants to wear a PFD in any area of the watercraft under any conditions.

· Personnel must wear conventional (inherently buoyant) PFDs in accordance with 485 DM 22

(2) Non-motorized watercraft

Personnel must wear a USCG-approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD at all times.

(3) Manual-only inflatable PFDs

A manually inflatable PFD is recommended for use in enclosed areas of watercraft to reduce the risk of entrapment in the event of capsizing. Users must inspect and maintain the PFD in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, including discharging the PFD while in the water prior to first use in the field.

(4) Auto-inflating PFDs

· Personnel may only use auto-inflating PFDs in special circumstances where there is evidence that it is riskier to use a conventional PFD than it would be to use an auto-inflating PFD.

· Approval for using auto-inflating PFDs requires the supervisor of the user to send a Job Hazard Assessment to the Regional Watercraft Safety Coordinator (RWSC).  If the request is approved, it is sent to the responsible Joint Administrative Operations (JAO) Safety Manager/Specialist for review and consultation. Users must inspect and maintain the PFD in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, including discharging the PFD while in the water prior to first use in the field. 

· For law enforcement operations, the supervisor may authorize, in writing, use of auto-inflating PFDs. Users must maintain and inspect the PFD in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, including discharging the PFD while in the water prior to first use in the field.

(5) PFD color and reflective

· PFDs must be international orange in color and equipped with retroreflective tape in accordance with 485 DM 22.

· Project Leaders/supervisors may allow personnel to use PFDs of equal visibility (e.g., yellow or red) or greater visibility (e.g., high-visibility green) if they are the safest for the job.

· PFDs must have lighting when operating at night or in open water (coastal waters, ocean, sea, large lake).

· With approval from the Service’s Watercraft Safety Lead, personnel may use a PFD that deviates from the high-visibility color requirement if special mission requirements, such as those involved in law enforcement, cannot otherwise be satisfied. Requests for deviation must be in writing.

Fire Protection Equipment Table


Authorizations/exceptions/other special issues

There must be one or more USCG-approved Type B fire extinguishers with a 2.5 lb. charge installed at a location that is readily accessible on all motorboats, depending on size, as follows:

· Less than 26 feet in length – 1 extinguisher.

· From 26 feet to 40 feet in length – 2 extinguishers.

· More than 40 feet to 65 feet – 3 extinguishers.

Follow USCG guidelines for fixed systems on watercraft larger than 65 feet.

Cold Weather Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Table


Authorizations/exceptions/other special issues

Personnel must wear cold weather PPE clothing when air temperature and water temperature combined fall below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold weather PPE is particularly important when operating watercraft:

· Alone, offshore, or in a remote location, and when rescue may be delayed or is unlikely; and

· In conditions when immersion in the water will likely disable the victim regardless of the proximity to shore or rescue.

Personnel must be trained on using this PPE.

The operator of the watercraft may make an exception to this requirement if, using the risk assessment protocol found in the MOCC student manual, the operator determines that risks associated with wearing cold weather PPE (e.g., personnel performance degradation, thermal stress) are offset by the benefits of not wearing it.

Immersion Suits


· Immersion suits are to be carried on board vessels operating in coastal waters, the ocean, and seas that exhibit cold or harsh conditions, and in large lakes and rivers that exhibit those same conditions.

· When immersion suits are carried on board, each person must:

     a. Have an appropriately sized suit.

     b. Be shown where the suit is stored.

     c. Be shown how to use it.

     d. Be given an opportunity to practice using it.

· Personnel must be trained on using this PPE.

· Supervisors must ensure personnel inspect immersion suits when purchased, when retrieved from storage, after every use, and at least every 6 months if not used frequently. Personnel must maintain immersion suits as recommended by the manufacturer.

Communication Equipment


Authorizations/exceptions/other special issues

Supervisors must provide communication equipment (e.g., marine radio, cell phones, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT), etc.) capable of requesting emergency assistance and maintaining radio schedules to operators of all watercraft.

Not required in instances where the operator has determined that the equipment is not necessary due to the nonhazardous nature of the operating environment.

Navigation Aids


· Vessel navigation equipment suitable to the mission must be on board the watercraft. This equipment may include a compass, radar, GPS, depth finder, navigation charts, maps, etc.

Auxiliary Power


Authorizations/exceptions/other special issues

· Auxiliary power (e.g., an extra outboard motor) is recommended for motorboats operated in areas where it’s not easy to get assistance in case there is a primary engine failure.

· Auxiliary power is required for motorboats operated in areas where assistance is unavailable.

In cases where auxiliary power is not practical (e.g., airboat operation), the operator must identify in a written float plan methods to obtain assistance during engine failures.