Because the monetary thresholds for reporting have not kept up with inflation, operators have been required to report minor casualties. Additionally, the original regulations require mandatory drug and alcohol testing following a serious marine incident. As a result, vessel owners and operators are conducting testing for casualties that are less significant than those intended to be captured by the original regulations.
This final rule changes the reportable marine casualty property damage threshold amount from $25,000 to $75,000, and the the SMI property damage threshold from $100,000 to $200,000. This change is the same as that proposed in the NPRM.
With the dollar amount thresholds updated to account for inflation, we expect there will be a decrease in the number of commercial vessel casualties reported to the Coast Guard. The updates in this final rule will also likely decrease the number of casualties that fall within the definition of an SMI, and thereby reduce the number of chemical tests administered following an SMI that results in $100,000.01 to $200,000 worth of property damage.
Mandatory chemical testing will still be required if the property damage meets the updated dollar threshold amount established in this final rule. USCG expects this final rule to result in annual cost savings to industry of $40,809 due to a reduction in the hourly burden of reporting and recordkeeping for both marine casualties and SMIs, and an estimated annual cost savings of $4,751 for chemical testing for marine casualties designated as SMIs. It also aims to increase savings reducing the hourly burden costs to investigate marine casualties, as well as the costs regarding processing marine casualty forms.
For more information see the updated marine casualty reporting property damage, in the PDF herebelow