Ballast Water Management Equivalent Reporting Program


The U.S. Coast Guard's Equivalent Reporting Program offers an alternative for an Owner, Operator, Master, Agent, Person-in-Charge or Charterer to submit required Ballast Water Management Reports on a monthly basis, instead of on an individual arrival basis as required under 33 CFR 151.2060(b).

Eligibility Criteria to Participate in BMW Equivalent Reporting Program

To participate in the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program the following criteria must be met:

  1. The applicant vessel must operate exclusively within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or Canadian equivalent;
  2. An applicant vessel must not have ever been listed on a Coast Guard Lookout List for failing to submit a ballast water report or for submitting incomplete or inaccurate reports;
  3. Applicant must own a copy of Adobe Acrobat (version 9 or later) to view and complete the ERP Application.

and either

Application Process

To be accepted into this program the following steps must be completed:

Due Dates

Any individual vessel or fleet of vessels must submit all of the month's BW management activities with NBIC by: 5 PM Eastern time on the 10th of each month.

Each submission must include each vessel's ballast water management information for arrivals that occurred in the previous month, up to and not including the first and last day of that month.

For example, an ERP submission for January should contain information regarding arrivals that occurred from January 1st through January 31st and be received by NBIC by 5 PM on February 10th.

Reporting Compliance Elements

Participation in the Equivalent BWM Reporting Program begins the month after activation of the vessel's on-line account by NBIC. Until then, all vessel ballast water management reports must be submitted under the requirements of 33 CFR 151.2060(b).

Once entered into the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program:

Technical Requirements

The Web App version of the ERP BWM Reporting Forms must be used. NBIC will not accept BWM Equivalent Reporting Forms submitted any other way. Thus, Internet connectivity and a web browser must be available to all participants in the ERP.

Technical questions about the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program Application or the BWM Equivalent Reporting Form should be e-mailed to:

Regulatory questions about the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program should be directed to:

Download the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program Application

To begin the acceptance process, download an application, fill it out and submit it to the U.S. Coast Guard's Environmental Standards Division via the following e-mail address:

This application is in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat (version 9 or later) to view and complete it. Click here to download the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program application.

How to Fill Out and Submit the BWM Equivalent Reporting Program Application

  1. Open the copy of the application that you saved on your computer.
  2. Enter all the required information into the appropriate blanks on Page 1.
  3. Enter Vessel-specific Information for the first vessel you would like to have considered for the program into the appropriate blanks on Page 2.
  4. Complete the Point of Contact Information on Page 2.
  5. For each additional vessel you would like to have considered for the program:
  6. Save your changes by selecting "Save" from the File menu.
  7. Attach your completed application to an e-mail message and send the message to



Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number.

The Coast Guard estimates that the average burden per response for this report varies per information collection - about 1 hour per Equivalent Reporting Method (ERM) update submission, and up to 2 hours per new ERM submission. You may submit any comments concerning the accuracy of this burden estimate or any suggestions for reducing the burden to: Commandant (CG-OES), U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7509, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington, DC 20593-7509 or Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (1625-0069), Washington, DC 20503.

Privacy Act Statement

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 4711; Pub. L. 104-332; 33 CFR 151 subpart D §§ 151.2060 and 151.2080.

Purpose: The Coast Guard will use the information provided on ballast water reporting forms to evaluate vessel ballast water management practices.

Routine Uses: Authorized Coast Guard personnel will use this data in efforts to reduce discharge of aquatic nuisance species into U.S. waters from vessels and to prevent future damage caused by such discharges. Any external disclosures of information within this record will be made in accordance with DHS/USCG-013, Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE), 74 Federal Register 30305 (June 25, 2009).

Disclosure: Furnishing this information is mandatory; failure to furnish the requested information is a violation and may incur civil penalties.

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Equivalent Reporting Program