46 USC 4502 - Safety standards

(a) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations which require that each vessel to which this chapter applies shall be equipped with
(1) readily accessible fire extinguishers capable of promptly and effectively extinguishing a flammable or combustible liquid fuel fire;
(2) at least one readily accessible life preserver or other lifesaving device for each individual on board;
(3) an efficient flame arrestor, backfire trap, or other similar device on the carburetors of each inboard engine which uses gasoline as fuel;

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(4) the means to properly and efficiently ventilate enclosed spaces, including engine and fuel tank compartments, so as to remove explosive or flammable gases;
(5) visual distress signals;
(6) a buoyant apparatus, if the vessel is of a type required by regulations prescribed by the Secretary to be equipped with that apparatus;
(7) alerting and locating equipment, including emergency position indicating radio beacons, on vessels that operate beyond 3 nautical miles from the baselines from which the territorial sea of the United States is measured, and which are owned in the United States or beyond 3 nautical miles from the coastline of the Great Lakes; and
(8) a placard as required by regulations prescribed under section 10603 (b) of this title.
(b) 
(1) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations requiring the installation, maintenance, and use of the equipment in paragraph (2) of this subsection for documented vessels to which this chapter applies that
(A) operate beyond the Boundary Line;
(B) operate with more than 16 individuals on board; or
(C) in the case of a fish tender vessel, engage in the Aleutian trade.

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(2) The equipment to be required is as follows:
(A) alerting and locating equipment, including emergency position indicating radio beacons;
(B) lifeboats or liferafts sufficient to accommodate all individuals on board;
(C) at least one readily accessible immersion suit for each individual on board that vessel when operating on the waters described in section 3102 of this title;
(D) radio communications equipment sufficient to effectively communicate with land-based search and rescue facilities;
(E) navigation equipment, including compasses, radar reflectors, nautical charts, and anchors;
(F) first aid equipment, including medicine chests; and
(G) other equipment required to minimize the risk of injury to the crew during vessel operations, if the Secretary determines that a risk of serious injury exists that can be eliminated or mitigated by that equipment.
(c) 
(1) In addition to the requirements described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the Secretary may prescribe regulations establishing the standards in paragraph (2) of this subsection for vessels to which this chapter applies that
(A) 
(i) were built after December 31, 1988, or undergo a major conversion completed after that date; and
(ii) operate with more than 16 individuals on board; or
(B) in the case of a fish tender vessel, engage in the Aleutian trade.
(2) The standards shall be minimum safety standards, including standards relating to
(A) navigation equipment, including radars and fathometers;
(B) lifesaving equipment, immersion suits, signaling devices, bilge pumps, bilge alarms, life rails, and grab rails;
(C) fire protection and firefighting equipment, including fire alarms and portable and semiportable fire extinguishing equipment;
(D) use and installation of insulation material;
(E) storage methods for flammable or combustible material; and
(F) fuel, ventilation, and electrical systems.
(d) 
(1) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations for the operating stability of a vessel to which this chapter applies
(A) that was built after December 31, 1989; or
(B) the physical characteristics of which are substantially altered after December 31, 1989, in a manner that affects the vessels operating stability.
(2) The Secretary may accept, as evidence of compliance with this subsection, a certification of compliance issued by the person providing insurance for the vessel or by another qualified person approved by the Secretary.
(e) In prescribing regulations under this chapter, the Secretary
(1) shall consider the specialized nature and economics of the operations and the character, design, and construction of the vessel; and
(2) may not require the alteration of a vessel or associated equipment that was constructed or manufactured before the effective date of the regulation.
(f) To ensure compliance with the requirements of this chapter, at least once every 2 years the Secretary shall examine
(1) a fish processing vessel; and
(2) a fish tender vessel engaged in the Aleutian trade.