Operators of Coast Guard-inspected vessels have a great appreciation for the professionalism and dedication of marine inspectors.
Most Coast Guard inspectors make a concerted effort to get to know you and your operation as soon as they arrive at their new assignment. Most operators take the time to familiarize inspectors with their operation and vessels with the hope that this new relationship will develop into a positive one.
Some of these Coast Guard-industry relationships blossom, but sadly others do not. But one thing I can definitely count on is that the military Coast Guard inspectors will move on to their next assignment. To operators, this change seems to occur in a blink-of-an-eye. The investment made in learning and developing strong working relationships with operators is gone for good. The opportunity to build a broader understanding and develop efficiencies also disappears.
I have written a few columns discussing the cost to the government and taxpayers of shuffling around military personnel. Now, however, it has become increasingly clear that the Coast Guard should seriously evaluate this practice when it comes to marine inspection.
Let’s consider the big picture. Moving military families around the U.S. every two to three years is extremely expensive and resource intensive. Think about the money that could be saved if the Coast Guard, for example, only moved its people every five or six years. In addition, their level of experience would increase because it would permit Coast Guard personnel to remain in critical positions much longer. At the same time, the industry has more time to develop strong working relationships with Coast Guard partners. The benefits are endless.
This would save the government and taxpayers millions, will foster better decision-making by all parties, result in more efficiency, and, most importantly, it will result in a stronger safety environment.
My solution may be simple, but I believe that we would all benefit from reducing Coast Guard personnel transfers.