Annual Review & Outlook 2013: U.S. Coast Guard

Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr.For more than 222 years, we have been America’s lifesavers. We protect people on the sea, protect against threats delivered by sea, and protect the sea itself. We’re proud of our unique service and the thousands of lives we save.

But we are more than a response organization. We also save lives through prevention, establishing and enforcing standards that reduce the risk of accidents and ensure the safe, secure and environmentally sound use of our nation’s waterways — while being sensitive to the economic burden of our efforts in this challenging fiscal environment.

Supported by Congress and the Obama administration, we have bolstered key elements of our marine safety work force through implementation of our Marine Safety Enhancement Plan to provide the best service to the maritime industry. We added civilian marine inspectors who will provide technical expertise and significant experience. We are enhancing commercial fishing vessel safety standards through authorities provided by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010. And, to ensure a centralized point of access, we’re completing the process of organizing our regional offices.

We continue to implement the recent International Maritime Organization amendments regarding the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping and are reviewing public comments regarding the towing vessel inspection regulatory proposal published in 2011. We’re also finalizing proposals regarding Transportation Worker Identification Card readers and monitoring implementation of the ballast water management regulations promulgated in 2012. Our strong partnerships will be critical as we address emerging and dynamic challenges, including offshore energy exploration and production and the Arctic.

We’ll always be there to respond, but it’s far better to prevent incidents than respond to them. It’s on these pillars — prevention and response — that our service has always rested. Semper paratus.

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