>NTSB Recommendations to USCG on Cell Phone Use

>The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a news release stating that it has issued two recommendations to the US Coast Guard regarding use of cell phones and similar wireless devices while operating vessels.

The NTSB is investigating two marine accidents (in Charleston and San Diego) where crewmembers on Coast Guard patrol boats involved in collisions had been using cellular telephones while underway to engage in text-messaging activities or conversations that were unrelated to vessel operations or the mission at hand.

The NTSB recommends that the Coast Guard develop and implement national and local policies on use of cell phones and other wireless devices on its vessels. The NTSB also recommends that the Coast Guard issue a safety advisory to the marine community promoting awareness of the risk posed by use of cell phones and other wireless devices while operating vessels and encourage the voluntary development of operational policies to address the risk.

The NTSB has not yet determined the probable causes of the accidents that it is currently investigating. (8/11/10). The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it issued guidance to its personnel on July 16 prohibiting use of these devices by operators of Coast Guard boats. It is reviewing the NTSB recommendations. (8/11/10).