Summary: H.R.4841 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (03/29/1984)

(Measure passed House, amended, roll call #61 (348-38))

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1984 - Authorizes appropriations for the Coast Guard for FY 1985 and 1986 for: (1) operation and maintenance, including icebreaking; (2) acquisition, construction, rebuilding, and improvement for aids to navigation, shore facilities, vessels, and aircraft; (3) research, development, test, and evaluation; (4) alteration or removal of bridges over navigable waters of the United States constituting obstructions to navigation; and (5) retirement pay and benefits.

Establishes an end-of-year strength for the Coast Guard for FY 1985 and 1986.

Authorizes average military training loads for FY 1985 and 1986 for: (1) recruit and special training; (2) flight training; (3) professional training, and (4) officer acquisition.

Sets the level for full-time civilian employment in the Coast Guard for FY 1985 and 1986.

Authorizes the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to transfer up to five percent of appropriations among categories. Requires such Secretary to give the chairmen of the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 15 days notice of any proposed transfer.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the United States has important interests in maintaining a fleet of icebreaking vessels for operation in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Directs the Secretary to plan for the design and construction of at least two additional polar icebreaking vessels to be operational by the end of FY 1990. Requires the Secretary to make status reports on such plans in January of 1985 and 1986.

Imposes civil and criminal penalties for operating a vessel when intoxicated. Requires marine casualty reports to include information indicating whether alcohol was a cause of the casualty. Requires State recreational boating safety programs to disseminate information concerning the hazards of operating a vessel when under the influence of alcohol.

Excludes recreational vessels and associated components with safety defects which create a substantial risk of personal injury to the public from vessels which meet minimum safety standards.

Directs the Commandant of the Coast Guard to establish a helicopter rescue swimmer program.

Requires the Secretary of Transportation to proceed vigorously with efforts to develop improved lifesaving equipment for use on passenger ferries.

Requires the use of authorizations to maintain in full operation the vessel traffic service (VTS) system in San Francisco, California, for FY 1985 and 1986, but prohibits any contracting out of Coast Guard functions.

Requires the use of authorizations for a fleet of 29 long-range search and surveillance aircraft used by the Coast Guard.

Encourages the Secretary of Transportation to research an electronic surveillance system for such aircraft for search and rescue or law enforcement purposes.

Prohibits any person in charge of a vessel in any capacity from discriminating against a seaman who in good faith reports or is about to report certain violations to the Secretary. Grants such seaman a remedy in Federal district court.

Encourages the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to identify functions performed by the Guard which are not inherently governmental and could be performed more cost effectively under contract with the private sector. Requires the Secretary to give the appropriate congressional committees 30 days notice and a certification of quality performance and cost effectiveness before actually contracting out a function.

Revises certain provisions of Federal law relating to the Coast Guard to remove gender distinctions.

Extends the Towing Safety Advisory Committee from October 6, 1985, to the end of FY 1990.

Amends the Inland Navigation Rules concerning towing and pushing to exclude below the Huey P. Long Bridge on the Mississippi from certain power-driven vessel lighting requirements.

Eliminates compensation, except for travel and per diem allowances, for members of the Road Advisory Council. Extends such Council from October 6, 1985 to the end of FY 1990. Excludes from computations of length of service in the Coast Guard an officer's time spent at any of the service academies. Renders ineligible for promotion officers whose separation or retirement date has officially passed but is being deferred for physical disability evaluation purposes.

Increases from $25,000 to $100,000 the ceiling on settlement of claims by the Secretary of Transportation involving damage to Coast Guard property.

Makes it a Federal crime to kill an employee of the Coast Guard assigned to perform investigative, inspection, or law enforcement functions.

Amends the Military Construction Authorization Act, 1982 to authorize the Secretary of Transportation (when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy) to participate in decisions regarding the use of certain former Public Health Service facilities.

Amends the Department of Defense Authorization Act, 1984 to authorize the Secretary of Transportation (when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy) to participate in decisions involving the use of Public Health Service facilities.

Eliminates the need for the Chief of Engineers' approval of plans for the construction or maintenance of bridges over navigable waters.

Amends the General Bridge Act of 1946 to eliminate the need for the Chief of Engineers' approval of plans for the construction and operation of any bridge.