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serve as a manual for the collectors and inspectors of customs, shipping commissioners, United States attorneys, the owners, masters, and agents of vessels. seamen, and others interested in navigation in its various aspects. It includes the laws relating to the registry, enrollment, and license, official numbers, and names of merchant vessels and vessels engaged in the fisheries, undocumented vessels, and yachts; admeasurement laws for ascertaining gross and net tonnage, crew accommodations, and propelling power; detailed statutory requirements concerning the issue of marine documents, bills of sale, mortgages, and records ; laws relating to the officers and crews of merchant vessels, including those which govern agreements, shipment and discharge, offenses and punishments, legal scale of provisions, and return and relief of distressed seamen; the laws to determine seaworthiness and inspection, provisions, medicines, and log books, and statutes fixing the liability of owners, masters, and shippers; the Passenger Act of 1882 with amendments, prescribing measures in detail for the comfort of steerage passengers, the general pilot laws, laws governing motorboats, and provisions concerning tonnage duties, discrimination, and retaliation; statutes governing entry and clearance, manifests, boarding and search of vessels; the laws concerning the coastwise trade and particular statutes affecting trade with Hawaii, Porto Rico, Alaska, the Philippines, and the Canal Zone; the power of the Secretary of Commerce to mitigate and remit penalties incurred by the owners and masters of vessels on the ocean, on inland waters, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi and its tributaries, and those defining the powers of the Secretary of Commerce over the movements of vessels; the regulation of radio communication; the appointment of shipping commissioners and radio inspectors, and various other statutes. Price, $1.

(c) Radio Service Bulletin. Price 5 cents; 25 cents annually.
(d) List of Amateur Radio Stations in the United States. 25 cents.

(e) Radio Communication Laws and Regulations of the United States. 15 cents.

(f) Annual List of Merchant Vessels containing a classified list of all American vessels. $1.25.

(g) Annual Code List containing seagoing vessels arranged according to their signal numbers. 35 cents.

(h) List of American Documented Seagoing Merchant Vessels of 500 gross tons and over; published monthly. 10 cents; 75 cents per annum.

(i) Rules and Regulations Governing the Movement of Anchorage of Ves sels in St. Mary's river.

(j) Measurement of Vessels.-Regulations interpreting laws relating to admeasurement of vessels, together with laws of United States and Suez Canal regulations. 15 cents.

(k) Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States. 15 cents.




The mission of the Steamboat Inspection Service is, in general, to enforce the steamboat inspection laws and certain other statutory provisions designed to insure the safety of passengers and cargoes transported by water.

2. History

In 1838 Congress passed an act “to provide for the better security of the lives of passengers on board of vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam.” 1 By this act seagoing steam vessels and steam vessels plying the Great Lakes, were required to be equipped with lifeboats, life protection equipment, and signal lights. The act also provided for an annual inspection of the hulls of all steam vessels, and a semiannual inspection of their boilers and machinery. For this purpose United States District Judges were required to appoint persons "skilled and competent" to make such inspections, upon the application of masters or owners.

The act of 1838 was continued in effect without substantial modification until 1852. By the Act of August 30, 1852,2 Congress laid the foundation of the present Steamboat Inspection Service. This act added materially to the restrictions imposed upon owners and masters of vessels in the interest of the security of passengers and cargoes; but it also provided more permanent and substantial machinery for the administration of the laws relating to the inspection of vessels. It established the Steamboat Inspection Service, under the Treasury Department, consisting of the local inspectors of hulls and boilers and nine Supervising Inspectors, to be appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate. The act provided for the division of the country into inspection districts, to be in charge of the respective Supervising Inspectors, whose duty it was to superintend and direct the work of the local inspectors within their districts. Local inspectors were no longer to be appointed solely by the District Judges, but by a board or committee consisting of the Supervising Inspector for the district and the Collector or other chief officer of customs for the particular port of entry involved, in addition to the District Judge. The local inspectors, sitting as a board, were authorized to examine and license engineers and pilots.

By the Act of February 28, 1871,4 a Supervising Inspector General was authorized, to be appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate. His duty was to superintend generally the administration of the steamboat inspection laws. The same act established a board, composed of the Supervising Inspectors


15 Stat. 304. 2 10 Stat. 63.

3 See Act June 8, 1864 (13 Stat. 120), and Act July 2, 1918 (40 Stat. 739), increasing the number of inspectors. 416 Stat. 440. See, also, Act Feb. 26, 1907 (34 Stat. 989).

and the Supervising Inspector General, to formulate the regulations necessary to carry out the steamboat inspection laws. The supervising inspectors and local inspectors, however, continued to be appointed according to the provisions of the Act of August 30, 1852,2 until after the enactment of the civil service laws, when by executive order dated March 2, 1896, the local inspectors were brought into the classified civil service. Prior to 1883, local inspectors derived their compensation from inspection and license fees. In that year they were transferred to an annual salary basis. Since 1871, Congress has passed a number of laws larging the jurisdiction of the Steamboat Inspection Service and adding to its powers and duties; and by the Act of February 14, 1903, it was transferred from the Treasury Department to the new Department of Commerce and Labor. It became a part of the Department of Commerce when the latter was created.



3. Activities

The chief administrative function of the service consists in the inspection of seagoing vessels, to see that they conform to the laws and regulations requiring that every vessel shall be suitable for the service in which it is employed, that it shall have adequate accommodations for passengers and crew, that its boilers and propelling machinery shall be safe, and that it shall be supplied with suitable firefighting and life-saving apparatus and with signal lights. It issues certificates of inspection for vessels properly constructed and equipped. Inspections of vessels are made at least annually, and reinspection may be made at any time a vessel is in port. If a vessel, once certified, is afterward found deficient, the certificate is summarily revoked, upon failure of the owner or master to remedy the defects. Record of certification or revocation is furnished to collectors of customs, who are governed thereby in their dealings with vessels.

Another important administrative function of the Steamboat Inspection Service consists in the examination and licensing of persons to be masters, chief mates, mates, engineers, or pilots, and the certification of able seamen and lifeboat men.8 It certifies and licenses motorboat operators. It issues special permits to excur sion steamers.

It determines the passenger-carrying capacity, and the full complement of licensed officers and crew, of every vessel.

It is empowered to grant licenses to transport combustibles and explosives on vessels.

It inspects marine boiler steel at the mills and certifies it by stamp.

In addition to its administrative duties, the Steamboat Inspection Service performs important functions of a quasi legislative and a quasi judicial character. Acting in a legislative capacity, the Board of Supervising Inspectors drafts and promulgates regulations, including pilot rules, which, after their approval by the Secretary of Commerce, have the force of law and are binding alike upon owners and masters of vessels and upon all branches of the government.

2 10 Stat. 63.

5 Act Aug. 7, 1882, c. 441 (22 Stat. 346); Act June 19, 1886 (24 Stat. 80); Act March 1, 1895, c. 146 (28 Stat. 699); Act Feb. 15. 1902, c. 23 (32 Stat. 34).

6 32 Stat. $25.
7 Act March 4, 1913, c. 141 (37 Stat. 736).
8 Act March 4, 1915 (38 Stat. 1170 [Comp. St. 8 8363a]).
9 Act May 16, 1906 (34 Stat. 194 [Comp. St. § 8187]).

The quasi judicial duties of the Steamboat Inspection Service consist of the investigation of cases of alleged violation of the laws and regulations by pilots, officers, and crews, and the investigation of acts of incompetency or misconduct committed by licensed officers while acting under authority of their licenses. Such investigations are conducted by the local inspectors, who are empowered to revoke or suspend licenses or certificates as occasion may warrant; their decisions, however, being subject to appeal to the Supervising Inspectors, to the Supervising Inspector General,10 and to the Secretary of Commerce. The service investigates collisions of vessels and other marine disasters, with a view to fixing the responsibility in such cases.

All steam vessels owned and operated by the United States Shipping Board, or any corporation organized or controlled by it, are subject to all the provisions of R. S. title 52, for the regulation of steam vessels, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto.11 .

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(a) Office of Supervising Inspector General.—(1) The Supervising Inspector General is the active head of the Steamboat Inspection Service. Under the direction of the Secretary of Commerce, he superintends the administration of the steamboat inspection laws. He presides at the meetings of the Board of Super

10 Act March 3, 1905 (33 Stat. 1030).
11 Act Oct. 25, 1919 (41 Stat. 305 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, $ 8152a]).

vising Inspectors, and is chairman of the Executive Committee of this board. 12 He promulgates the rules and regulations drafted by the board. He receives from supervising inspectors in the field, reports of alleged violations of the law and regulations as well as reports of investigations and decisions made by the local inspectors. He examines, on application of the officer whose license is in question, any case involving the revocation or suspension of a license, 10 and he decides all cases appealed from the decisions of the local boards and of supervising inspectors. The correspondence of the Washington office with the field service, excepting that relating to purely routine matters, and with private parties affected by the laws and regulations, is carried on over his signature.

(2) The Deputy Supervising Inspector General13 acts as executive assistant to the Supervising Inspector General, and in case of the absence or incapacity of the latter he acts in his place. He has charge of all matters pertaining to the administration of the Washington office, and signs correspondence of a routine nature. He authorizes the procurement of supplies by the field service. He assists the Supervising Inspector General in the preparation of the annual report and other publications issued by the Steamboat Inspection Service. All matters of administrative detail involved in the superintendence of the Steamboat Inspection Service are supervised by him, including the indexing and filing of reports submitted by boiler inspectors at the steel mills, reports submitted by local inspectors of vessels, records of licenses issued to officers and seamen, reports of accidents and disasters aboard ship, and similar papers, the auditing of the expense accounts and vouchers of the service, and the recording of its financial transactions, and the preparation of property returns.

(b) The Board of Supervising Inspectors. The Supervising Inspector General and the eleven Supervising Inspectors from the eleven inspection districts, assemble as a board on the third Wednesday in January of each year. The Supervising Inspector General presides. The functions of the Board of Supervising Inspectors are of a quasi legislative nature. It establishes the rules and regulations necessary to the enforcement of the steamboat inspection laws, prescribes pilot rules, and passes upon the instruments, machines, and equipment required to be used on steam vessels for the better security of passengers and crews, and it lays down the boundaries of the eleven inspection districts. The work of the Board of Supervising Inspectors, however, is not limited to the drafting of rules and regulations. It is empowered to review all acts performed by Supervising Inspectors in the field and by the local Boards of Inspectors. It examines complaints against the operation of the rules for the purpose of adjusting and correcting any defects therein, and in order to obtain as nearly as may be a uniform administration of the inspection laws, rules, and regulations throughout the country. The regulations formulated by the Board of Supervising Inspectors, when approved by the Secretary of Commerce, have the force of law.

The Secretary of Commerce may assemble, at any time between sessions of

4 16 Stat. 440. See, also, Act Feb. 26, 1907 (34 Stat. 989). 10 Act March 3, 1905 (33 Stat. 1030). 12 Act March 3, 1905 (33 Stat. 1022). 18 Act July 2, 1918 (40 Stat. 740).

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