Last updated: 19-January-2017

Submitting Ballast Water Management Reporting Forms to NBIC


Ballast Water Management Report submission is MANDATORY unless exempted (see 33 CFR 151.2015 Exemptions).  Ship Arrivals fall into one of 4 main populations -- PLEASE READ THESE DESCRIPTIONS CAREFULLY:

  1. For any vessel that is equipped with ballast water tanks and bound for ports or places in the United States: Submit a Ballast Water Management Report (BWMR) to the NBIC no later than 6 hours after arrival at the port or place of destination, or prior to departure from that port or place of destination, whichever is earlier.
  2. Any vessel bound for the Great Lakes from outside the EEZ (i.e., transiting the Saint Lawrence Seaway) must be aware of Transport Canada, US Coast Guard and Seaway Ballast Water Regulations. To meet US Coast Guard regulations, submit a BWMR at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives in Montreal, Quebec. Non-US/non-Canadian flag vessels may complete the St. Lawrence Seaway ballast water reporting form and submit it in accordance with the applicable Seaway notice as an alternative to this requirement. Note: the St. Lawrence Seaway ballast water reporting form is not available at the NBIC website.
  3. Any vessel bound for the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge entering from outside the EEZ: Submit the BWMR to NBIC at least 24 hours before the vessel enters New York, NY.
  4. IF AND ONLY IF you operate EXCLUSIVELY on voyages between ports or places within a SINGLE Captain Of The Port Zone, may you use the Annual Ballast Water Summary Report. This reporting form enables you to summarize all ballast water management activities once per year. Annual Ballast Water Summary Reports describe ballast management activities for an entire calendar year and are due no later than 31 March of the following year (e.g., calendar year 2016 BW activities are reported to the NBIC not later than 31 March 2017).

A fifth population of vessels may quality for the Coast Guard's Equivalent Reporting Program (ERP).   The ERP program is restricted to NON-SEAGOING VESSELS THAT OPERATE EXCLUSIVELY WITHIN THE US/CANADIAN EEZS, but participation requires special permission from the US Coast Guard. Single vessels must make 10 or more arrivals per month or fleets of vessels must make 50 or more arrivals per month to be considered by USCG for admission into the ERP. Applications for the ERP are available here. NOTE: Until a vessel receives permission from USCG and a customized ERP BWMR reporting form from the NBIC, vessels must submit the BWMR described below.


Ships making calls at ports and places in the United States must report using the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form, available in two formats:

  1. Web App BWMR form. The Web APP BWMR form has many advantages: 1) it remembers static information (e.g., Vessel Information) and auto-populates fields when the user starts a new report for a vessel. 2) It allows ships to access previously submitted BWMRs and easily edit them to submit a corrected report. 3) Because the Web App connects to the NBIC information system with your Internet Browser, up-to-date information will be accessible to the user via type ahead pull-down menus that will significantly reduce required keystrokes. 4) If new versions of the Web App BWMR form are required, user accounts will be automatically updated with no special requirements by the user.
  2. PDF BWMR form. The PDF form can be filled in off-line, and can be sent to NBIC via e-mail, or submitted on-line, by clicking a button on the form.

Instructions for filling out the form are available here.  See 33 CFR 151.2060 for the ballast water reporting and record keeping rules.

NBIC has no regulatory authority over vessel ballast operations. The electronic submission of ballast water reporting forms to the NBIC may result in the submitter receiving an electronic confirmation of a successful reporting form submission; however, this notice of receipt is not an approval to conduct ballasting operations. All vessel masters, owners, operators, agents or persons in charge are reminded that they are required to conduct ballast water operations in accordance with the applicable sections of 33 CFR 151 regardless of whether they have received confirmation of a successful ballast water reporting form submission.




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Equivalent Reporting Program