OSMS and YOU: Vessel Inspections

This blog post is the 17th in a series of posts highlighting the various specialties and sub-specialties offered by the recently launched Officer Specialty Management System. Stay tuned as we share key information about each specialty/sub-specialty in the coming weeks!




Written by Keith Core

The OAP11 – Vessel Inspections specialty code designates the recipient as a certified Coast Guard Marine Inspector and Port State Control Examiner. This program utilizes the Apprentice-Journeyman-Advanced Journeyman concept for progression through competency achievement. Officers may apply for the OAP11 designator upon certification as a Journeyman Marine Inspector as defined in Volume II of the Marine Safety Manual, COMDTINST M16000.7B. The marine inspector is the foundation of a prevention officer career path and knowledge obtained through this specialty will promote success throughout the officer’s career.

As stated by Rear Adm. James Watson, during his tenure as Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, “Just as every Marine is a rifleman, every prevention officer will be a Marine Inspector. Marine inspection is a core competency and pre-requisite for assignment as a marine investigator and Prevention Department head.”

The knowledge and skills obtained by a marine inspector include the mastery of safety, security and environmental compliance requirements for U.S. domestic and internationally operating vessels, as well as for foreign commercial vessels operating in U.S. waters. A marine inspector evaluates and certifies U.S. commercial vessels for compliance with U.S. regulations and international treaties. Types of commercial vessels include inland and offshore barges, passenger vessels like ferries and harbor cruisers, as well as offshore supply vessel supporting oil and gas exploration or production in the U.S. outer continental shelf. The port state control examiner evaluates foreign vessels conducting commerce at U.S. ports to verify compliance with international requirements and unilateral U.S. regulations for transiting in our navigable waters. These include cruise ships, liquefied natural gas carriers, and tank ships carrying oil and hazardous chemicals.

While working toward this specialty, you will have opportunities unparalleled by other programs. The marine inspector works closely with the civilian marine industry, providing valuable networking connections. The marine inspector also attends numerous marine technology conferences and training sessions to enhance inspector performance and represent Coast Guard regulatory interests. There are opportunities for world-wide travel while conducting inspections and available permanent assignments in Hawaii, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Tokyo.

Because the requirements cover a large array of marine systems and equipment, the competency process for the Marine Inspector is challenging. Every day is a new opportunity, as you could be inspecting a chemical tanker one day, an international cruise ship or articulated tug-barge or high speed ferry, the next. If you desire to be on the front line of protecting life, property and the environment, you should consider obtaining this specialty. You will be rewarded with the confidence of leading inspection teams, decision-making authorities, and preventing the dangers that are inherent to the industry, vessel crews, passengers and the public. You will work intimately with all sectors of the global maritime industry while representing the service you are proud of, the United States Coast Guard.


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