Technical Circular No. 28 | 2016

Subject: United States Coast Guard – VDR Periodic Validation Alert

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  • The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has issued Marine Safety Alert 12-16 (Copy Attached) in order to remind owners and operators to periodically validate the proper operation of their vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder (VDR).
  • While suggesting periodic review of VDR data in order to help detect unsafe practices and equipment problem as a preventive towards a marine accident or casualty occurring, USCG recommends that Owners and operators of vessels equipped with VDR takes the following actions: 
    • Ensure Deck Officers understand VDR operation and know how to initiate the “Save Data” function immediately after an incident.
    • Employ a qualified service engineer to perform line-by-line functionality validation of all the required inputs, their storage, data coverage timeframe, and ability of this data to be properly played back with the appropriate equipment, operating systems and software available. The line-by-line validation of VDR inputs, data storage and quality of data may be achieved through a download of the data, analysis, and playback on appropriate equipment. The service provider should also check and inspect all batteries, enclosures, location aid devices, and power supplies with their associated alarms in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
    • Implement a company policy to periodically test the VDR (in additional to the required annual certification) to ensure complete operation of the system; and
    • Incorporate the above recommendations in the vessel’s Safety Management System and maintenance record keeping systems.
  • The Safety alert does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirements.


  1. USCG Marine Safety Alert 12-16 dated 1 September 2016.


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.


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