Changes to the SNS, the VIS, and the BARD – Implications for the States

The Coast Guard issued its final rule on March 28, 2012 (Docket No. USCG-2003-14963) and amended its regulations related to numbering undocumented vessels and reporting boating accidents. These changes align and modernize terminology used in the Standard Numbering System (SNS), the Vessel Identification System (VIS), and accident reporting; require verification of vessel hull identification numbers; require SNS vessel owners to provide personally identifiable information; and provide flexibility for states and territories in administering these regulations. Together, the changes are intended to improve boating safety efforts, enhance law enforcement capabilities, clarify requirements for all stakeholders, and promote the Coast Guard strategic goals of maritime safety and security. Learn about the changes and what your organization needs to do to prepare for these regulatory changes by January 1, 2017.

Vann Burgess

USCG RBS Specialist

U.S. Coast Guard (CG-522), Office of Auxiliary & Boating Safety

Vann Burgess retired from the United States Coast Guard in February of 2000 after serving more than 21 years on active duty. During his career, Burgess’s primary fields were Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue. His last tour of duty was as the coordinator and lead instructor for the Marine Patrol Officer’s Course and a regulatory subject matter expert for the Boarding Officer’s Course at the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement School, Yorktown, Virginia.

 In July 2000, Burgess came to the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, Coast Guard Headquarters, where he now serves as the Coast Guard’s Senior Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Specialist. In his current position, Burgess oversees the programmatic operation of the State RBS Grant Program, provided under the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. This grant program provides funding to all U.S. states and territories for the purposes of vessel numbering, RBS law enforcement, RBS education, search and rescue and boating accident investigation and reporting. Burgess also serves as the programmatic lead for the Vessel Identification System (VIS), a national database for state numbered and Coast Guard documented vessels for the purposes of law enforcement and security.

 Vann Burgess is the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety liaison to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and serves on the Boat Accident and Training (BOAT) Program Advisory Board.

Tammy Terry

Boating Accident Program Manager

Madelynn Fenske

Customer Service Supervisor


Changes to the Standard Numbering System, the Vessel Identification System, and the Boating Accident Report Database – Implications for the States You must register to access.