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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 10, 2021

Newly released: The Coast Guard Seamanship Manual 

By Shana Brouder, MyCG Staff

The Office of Cutter Forces updated the Coast Guard Seamanship Manual, consolidating the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) necessary for successful deck operations aboard cutters. This new manual provides essential guidance for all 23 platforms of Coast Guard cutters.   

“Prior to this manual’s publication we did not have a comprehensive directive, but rather a collection of policies,” said Robert Craighead, individual qualifications program manager in the Office of Cutter Forces. 

A team of 13 dedicated Coast Guard members, of varying ranks including command chiefs, chief warrant officers, and petty officers from across the country contributed their knowledge, experience, and expertise to creating what is now the most comprehensive policy document regarding seamanship aboard cutters. 

“The Seamanship Manual provides policy and doctrine for shipboard deck operations which are inherently dangerous,” Craighead explained, “It supports the Afloat Training Organization and the various TTPs that exist for shipboard launching of small boats, anchoring and towing —all major events for any cutter.”

The manual provides basic terminology and shipboard construction, cites risk management requirements, states mooring and anchoring policies related to size and types of line that can be used, and training and certification requirements related to cutter surface swimmers.

“The manual reinforces our culture of risk management,” said Craighead. “It focuses on standardizing expectations aboard cutters. It also provides the fleet with an authoritative source regarding seamanship that they previously did not have.” 

Most importantly, the manual will be a useful tool for unit commanders. “Unit commanders can cite this reference when crafting their cutter's standing orders,” said Craighead. “They can cite this manual when they give orders on, for example, line handling commands, small boat launch and recovery guidelines, what PPE should be worn on deck, etc.”

The manual also stands as the foundation for future qualifications guides. This is especially true when developing future qualification guides in support of deck seamanship—a goal of the individual qualification program. 

For recommendations to this manual, email the Office of Cutter Forces (CG-751).