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Coast Guard Proposes Rule Changes in Federal Register; Commercial Diving and Coast Guard Use of Drones Offshore

According to last Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register, the Coast Guard is proposing regulation changes that will have a significant effect on the maritime industry.

Included in those changes are proposals that would directly affect commercial diving at deepwater ports as well as the use of drones in search and rescue missions offshore.

How will Commercial Divers be Affected?

The Coast Guard is proposing what it calls a “complete revision” of commercial diving regulations in the Marine Occupational Safety and Health Standards, 46 CFR part 197, subpart B.

Changes include replacing most of the regulations imposing specific operational, personnel, and equipment requirements with new regulations Association of Diving Contractors International’s (ADCI) current consensus standards along with the consensus standards of the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE).

Under the proposals, commercial would have to provide additional compliance documentation as well as submit to inspection, observation or interview by Coast Guard personnel.

Additionally, the proposals will set new minimum standards for the size and composition of dive teams.

The Use of Drones for Offshore Search and Rescue

These proposals also clear the way for the Coast Guard to begin evaluating unmanned aircraft, otherwise known as “drones”, for use in search and rescue missions offshore.

This will be accomplished through flight testing under “simulated, but realistic and relevant real-world maritime operational scenarios.”

Coast Guard Drone Maritime

According to the Coast Guard’s proposals, these drones are also intended for use in law enforcement as well as to respond to environmental emergencies–in addition to their use for search and rescue missions.