Jurisdiction » Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation

The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation oversees the activities of the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission.

The Coast Guard has broad responsibilities for enforcing the nation’s laws in U.S. waters and on the high seas, and for the protection of life and property at sea. The service’s wide ranging missions include maritime search and rescue, illegal drug and migrant interdiction, oil spill prevention and response in the marine environment, marine safety, aids to navigation, icebreaking, enforcement of U.S. fisheries and other marine environmental laws, and domestic maritime defense readiness.

The Coast Guard is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. It is the nation’s only armed force outside the Department of Defense, and has been designated by the President as the lead agency responsible for maritime homeland security. The Coast Guard traces its roots back to the creation of the Revenue Cutter Service which was established in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton to help address the newly formed nation’s first economic and fiscal crisis.

The Federal Maritime Commission regulates ocean shipping.

Issues under the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction include:

  • the United States Coast Guard, its duties, organization, functions, personnel, the Coast Guard Academy, the Coast Guard Reserve, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary;
  • Maritime transportation safety;
  • Navigation;
  • Ports and waterway safety;
  • Maritime transportation regulatory activities, including the regulation of vessels and merchant seamen;
  • State boating safety programs and recreational vessel safety;
  • Marine environmental protection related to vessel operations, including oil and plastics pollution, invasive/aquatic nuisance species transported by vessels, international agreements concerning transportation of oil and hazardous substances, and air emissions from ships;
  • Port security;
  • the regulation of ocean shipping;
  • Domestic ownership, construction and labor requirements for vessels carrying cargo or passengers in U.S. waters, popularly known as the Jones Act; and
  • the merchant marine except as it relates to national defense.
For a more complete description of the Subcommittee's jurisdiction, click here to link to the official Jurisdiction and Activities document for the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, as approved by the full Committee at the beginning of the 112th Congress.

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