Coast Guard User Fees for Vessel Documentation
We released our audit report regarding the user fees that the U.S. Coast Guard charges the public for vessel documentation services. Our audit found that the Coast Guard's revenue from these fees exceeded the cost of providing vessel documentation for fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001. The Coast Guard could not support the basis it used to set the initial fees in 1994, nor had it updated the fees even though operations have been streamlined. Coast Guard estimated that revenues exceeded budgeted costs by $1.5 million and returned the excess to the U.S. Treasury.
Coast Guard agreed to develop procedures for providing actual costs and adjust vessel documentation fees, as necessary. It also hired a consultant to update its cost-accounting system. By law, the Coast Guard is required to charge user fees to recover the cost of providing vessel documentation, which is a form of national registration of ships and other vessels. The audit was performed at the request of Rep. Corrine Brown, Ranking Minority Member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.