28 MAY 2017 • FOGHORN REGULATORYREPORT By Peter Lauridsen, PV A Regulatory Affairs Consultant T he “Agreement between Canada and the United States ofAmerica for Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, 1973” (hereafter the Agreement) has come into question by PVA members. The Agreement for Great Lakes operators is implemented by regu- lation in section 47 CFR 80.953. The primary means of insuring compli- ance is an inspection of a vessel’s ra- diotelephone installation within the month before the vessel is placed in operation and every 13 months there- after while in active service. The inspec- tion must be conducted by a technician holding a General Radiotelephone Operator License, a GMDSS Radio Maintainer ’s Certificate, or a Radiotelegraph Operator License, or a First or Second Class Radiotelegraph Operator’s Certificate. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) itself does not conduct the inspection, relying instead on approved private sector inspectors.The result of a suc- cessful inspection is the inspector’s certification that the installation meets the requirements of the Great Lakes Agreement and the Bridge to Bridge Act. The Agreement applies to all passenger vessels carrying more than six (6) passengers and/or is more than 20 meters in length sailing the Great Lakes but not tributary or connect- ing waters except St Mary’s River, St Clair River, the Detroit River and the Welland Canal. In practical terms and the experi- ence of PVA members the inspection costs $300 - $400 plus travel and seems only to verify that a radiotelephone is aboard, equipped and located as at the initial pre-service inspection. Another observation is that the inspector never, or rarely, finds a situation requiring cor- rection. The company’s vessel masters and licensed personnel are probably, with basic tools and their day-to-day operating experience, able to verify their vessel’s capabilities and com- pliance. The FCC provides a Great Lakes Vessel Inspection list of require- ments on its web site. In addition to the Agreement the checklist includes, bridge-to-bridge radio and EPIRB for vessels operating more than three nautical miles from shore. One private sector inspector offered comments regarding the FCC’s pass/ fail experience thus: “According to the FCC, fewer than one percent of Great Lakes vessels fail the inspection. I suspect that most of those which do fail are due to easily correctable problems, such as not having a copy of the regula- tions aboard, or not having the license properly displayed.” But the Agreement applies to two nations and all other vessels that call in the Great Lakes. Canada’s “Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999” recite the basic requirements of the Agreement but cite some different pa- rameters under the Canadian Shipping Act. Differences from the FCC regula- tions appear to be Canada’s passenger threshold is more than 12 passengers and for those vessels certified for home- trade voyages, Class IV or minor waters voyage, Class II there is a provision for a 48-month inspection cycle. While the definition is not easily Radiotelephone Agreement between Canada and the United States of America EASY MANEUVERABILITY Give your passengers a smooth ride with reliable John Deere PowerTech™ propulsion and generator drive engines. With high torque and low-rated rpm, they deliver excellent vessel control and quiet operation. For easy navigation on the water — Nothing Runs Like A Deere™. JohnDeere.com/marine 60 to 559 kW (80 to 750 hp)