South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Feb 25, 2020 Tue

This month, vice president, Lori Wheeler, and industry liaison, Patience Cohn, went to Washington, D.C. to address several issues of concern impacting the yachting community. Kitty McGowan from USSA and MIASF Member, Deb Radtke from American Yacht Agents, joined the group, along with MIASF lobbyist Duncan Smith. Visits included stops at the offices of Congressman Ted Deutch and Senator Marco Rubio to thank them for their support, which included a joint letter to the agencies requesting the consistent and correct issuance of visas to yacht crew visiting the U.S. on foreign-flagged vessels.

Meetings with the new staff responsible for the yachting community from both the Department of State (DOS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were very productive and positive. The new assignment of CBP staff is actually a return to a previous person who comes with a strong understanding of the unique transient yachting community. DOS has updated the Field Advisory Manual (FAM) to include clarification of the appropriate visa to be issued for yachts and has also included the topic in their D.C. training sessions for officers in route to a consulate.

Several divisions of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) made time to meet with the team and reviewed the progress that has been made in writing the new regulation permitting the U.S. flagging of recreational vessels over 300 gross tons. The group discussed manning requirements and avoiding unintended consequences and met with the leadership responsible for review and approval of non-tank vessel response plans (NVRP), which currently take up to 60 days and vessels are forbidden from entering the U.S. without an approved plan. Staff asked for the industry to provide data and they would investigate options to facilitate a more efficient process.

All agencies were invited to participate in workshops on May 12th at the American Boating Congress. Members whose business is impacted by DOS, CBP and/or USCG are encouraged to attend this year. The value of meeting these officers and having a contact to call when the need arises will prove invaluable.

The FEC Railroad bridge on the New River is currently operating under a test deviation that assures a predictable opening for vessel traffic for the first 10 minutes of every hour, as well as staying open in the default position when not in use. The U.S. Coast Guard is accepting public comments on the deviation until March 30th. Click here if you wish to submit a formal comment.