On November 2, 2023, the Great Lakes Agreement (Agreement) terminated.  This termination occurred one year after the Canadian government notified (PDF) the United States of its intention to terminate the Agreement.  Even though the Agreement is no longer in effect, the Commission rules in Part 80, Subpart T still apply, as do the other rules in Parts 0 and 80 that previously mentioned the Agreement.  The Commission unanimously adopted an Order on October 30, 2023, which retained all radio carriage, operator, and power requirements, among others, unchanged and in effect for applicable vessels on the Great Lakes.

However, please note that the Commission changed the inspection requirement for applicable Great Lakes vessels from once every 13 months to at least once every 48 months.  47 C.F.R. § 80.953.  Certifications of inspection that are valid on the effective date of the GLA termination—therefore, dated between October 2, 2022 and November 2, 2023—will be valid for 48 months from the date of inspection, as opposed to 13 months.  Vessels with valid certifications on the effective date of the GLA termination that wish to use that inspection for 48 months from the date of inspection to comply with the Great Lakes inspection requirement should keep a copy of this Order with the inspection documentation.  The Commission also updated the requirement that vessels must maintain the certificate or station log documenting the inspection on board from two years to the next inspection to make this rule consistent with the new inspection requirement.

View the Order reinstating the Great Lakes rules (PDF).  The Order covers all the legal details of the Agreement, explains its termination, and the Commission’s action to preserve the Great Lakes rules.

Please call 1-877-480-3201 with any questions or go to https://www.fcc.gov/wtbhelp to submit a web inquiry.

Monday, November 20, 2023