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NOAA Small Boat Safety Board teleconference minutes from 12-April-2017

May 11


Submitted By: D. Donahue

Attending: Donahue, Donaldson, Guberski, Hoggard, VerPlanck, Humphrey, Yoshinaga, McCormick

Absent: Adler, Duran

1.  Minutes from the 3/8/17 telecon meeting were approved.   Open and Action items were discussed

2.  Standing Brief. VerPlanck presented that there was one Small Boat related incident since last meeting.  Hoggard explained the circumstances of the RV Caretta  striking a light pole at its home dock.  After group discussion there were no suggested corrective actions or lessons learned for the SB fleet.

There was concern voiced that incident reports from the Observer Program may be construed as falling under the prevue of the SBP.

There were no notable vessel inspections issues since the last meeting.

Action Item: Duran will be asked to investigate this issue on incident reporting and Program accountabilities

3. Manual Draft - 4Th Edition Manual has been submitted to GC for review.

4.  Voluntary Health questionnaire – VerPlanck presented that the suggested wording for the “Medical and Fitness considerations” sections was circulated for comment and acceptance. 

There is a need to post to the website the voluntary health questionnaire, as referenced in this section.  Three versions are currently being used on the Class III’s and SRV’s (OAR, NMFS and NOS).  It was agreed that a single form should be posted.

Action Item: VerPlanck will investigate and choose the most appropriate format.

5. VIM data base - Guberski presented the status of participation in the VIM data base.  It was noted that about a dozen boats, primarily NWS and NOS, have not been entered / updated.  She proposed retiring the SBP Excel inventory sheet and only support the VIM. The Board supported this action.

Action Item: Donahue to correct NWS issues and work with Adler on NOS issues.

6.  VOC Performance plan element.  Adler was not present to brief the group on this topic. 

Action Item: Donahue will discuss this topic with Adler and assure that this topic is resolved.

7. Discussion of Notice to Mariners Requirements.  Hoggard lead the group in discussion of a waiver request regarding the requirement to update charts to the most recent Local Notice to Mariners.  At issue are operations that are field based with limited access to LNM publications and difficulty updating charts in the field..

The Small Boat Program's intent is to be sure that vessel operators are fully aware of the most current safety, security or navigational notices within their operational area.   As such, Board voted to not pursue a waiver of this requirement.  Instead, the Board agreed to provide guidance on meeting this requirement.

At the beginning of each field season each vessel will have on board the latest print on demand charts and the most recent updates installed on the primary chart plotter.  The following options were discussed and approved as an alternative to maintaining LNM updates on the paper charts.

  1. Document the pertinent LNM's information received on the NAVTEX or from USCG in the log book and assure these are shared during crew rotations.
  2. Post on the bridge the most recent LNM's update and highlight notices within the operational area.  Document in the log book when these notices were posted and changed.
  3. The VOC or designee can download the most recent LNM's and email/text the vessel any updates applicable to the operational area.  These records should be retained and shared during the annual inspection upon request.     

Action Item: Hoggard will communicate these Board directives to the requesting group.  The topic of LNM and chart up-dating requirements will be added to the June meeting agenda and Summit topics.

8. VOC summit / group travel.  The Group Travel has been approved for the VOC Summit.  All LOSBOS agreed to distribute meeting details and hotel arrangements.  Development of a Summit agenda will be the primary focus of the June Board Meeting.

Action Item: VerPlanck will create a file in Google drive to capture a running list of topics and ideas for the VOC summit.  The group is encouraged to contribute to that list.

9. ONMS Meeting – VerPlanck provided an overview of the recent ONMS Small Boat meeting.  No Board or Program action was required. 

10. NOAA Component Course update – Brief by Hoggard and Guberski – see attached.  The group discussed several options to move Component training forward.  At issue is determining the best approach to convey the material.  Options considered were 1. A small group of trained instructors.  2. A large group, presumably all VOC’s, of presenters. 3. A Hybrid of 1 and 2.   Delivery method would determine resource material and format.

It was agreed that VOC input would be critical to choose a path forward.

There was discussion of using the Commerce Learning Center (CLC) as a means of tracking certification and NOAA Component training.

There was discussion of the need to capture the number and status (qualified, active, etc) of certified Small Boat Operators.

Action Item: This topic will be discussed in detail at the June meeting.

Action Item: Guberski to initiate a data call and a listing of operator names to help provide some measure of required training resources.

11. Posting of meeting Minutes – VerPlanck raised the issue of posting of Board minutes to the SB website as was suggested in earlier Board efforts to improve communication.  The group was in support of this action.

Action Item:  VerPlanck will investigate efforts to format prior minutes and review content to assure that posting of details is appropriate.  Donahue will write future minutes appropriate for direct posting.

12. Reasonable accommodations – Hoggard presented some lessons learned regarding accommodations for personnel with disabilities or special requirements embarked on Small Boats.    Guidance provided:

  • Apply same standards to contractors as NOAA employees, but we must communicate it in different ways ( i.e. working through the contract company)
  • Ask can the person fulfill the job duties (without considering the disability or in this case the addition of a dog)
  • Ask if there an alternative solution to the dog?    
  • Consider requesting an EEOC analysis
  • Ask for documentation for the service dog.  A certification acquired off the web is not acceptable.  Require documentation of formal training. If none, you could refuse taking the dog based on that.
  • Ask will the addition of the dog increase risk? Use the GAR or Mission analysis to document how it will increase
  • Start with the NOAA's Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (link below) for guidance.  They can help determine if the situation should be elevated to General Council.    

Additional information can be found at:

13. The next regularly scheduled telecom meeting is 5/10 at 2:00 EST



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