How do I get a coastwise waiver for a small passenger vessel?

A coastwise waiver for a small passenger vessel, also known as a MARAD waiver (or “MARAD Small Vessel Waiver”) can be found on our site here.

Whenever possible, the government wants to make sure that vessels engaging in coastwise commerce were built in the United States. Some vessels built elsewhere can be eligible for operation as small passenger vessels. To do so, it is necessary to obtain a MARAD waiver, which waives parts of the Jones Act.

Eligibility for a MARAD Waiver/Small Vessel Waiver entails that the vessel is at least three years old, is owned by an American citizen/organization, will only be used for passengers, and, as GovInfo details, will “allow the carriage of no more than twelve passengers for hire on vessels.”

After a vessel owner applies for a MARAD waiver through our site, MARAD will publish a Public Notice in the Federal Register for 30 days. This notice will contain both details of the vessel and the owner’s intended use. Simultaneously, MARAD will conduct research so as to make a determination whether or not issuing the waiver will negatively impact American businesses.

Should MARAD not see a potential negative impact, the waiver will be issued. More often than not, MARAD approves the wai