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Coast Guard reorganizes its rules for recreational waterways

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The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is cleaning up its rules regarding navigable waterways. USCG is announcing in the Federal Register of Monday, July 7, 2014 that it is amending the rules for Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The rule changes are conforming and technical. USCG says they won't impact boaters.

The changes in the code take place immediately. You can find them at http://www.regulations.gov. Put “USCG-2013-0974” in the search box. If you have questions about the rules, contact Paul Crissy at (202) 372-1093, email Paul.H.Crissy@uscg.mil.

USCG did not bother putting out a proposed rule and public comment period in this case. It pointed out that the law does not require it to do so when the rules involve agency organization, procedure and practice. The rules at stake here involve only corrections, conforming regulations with each other, wording changes and organization, the Coast Guard explained in the announcement.

The Coast Guard reprints Title 33 every July. The new code reflects changes in offices and symbols made two years ago. It also reflects new addresses, including the new USCG headquarters in Washington, DC on the former St. Elizabeths campus, as well as new addresses for some regional offices. The new address, for instance, for the commandant of the Recreational Boating Product Assurance Branch will be USCG Stop 7501, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20593-7501

The new rules also include new section numbers in the code to reflect changes in law and the agency's transfer from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security.

The rules also include inflation adjustments for maximum civil penalties for rule violations. The new highest fine for recreational vessels totals $300,000. The fine will only be given for a series of violations. Don't worry too much; most fines will be much, much lower.

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