Surveys of the sea-coasts and lake-coasts of the United States may be authorized by the President for the purpose of aiding navigation by the production of correct charts of courses, distances, depth of water, etc., along such coasts. The public vessels in actual service and officers of the navy and army are employed, as far as practicable, in this survey.

What Is Done With The Surveys

The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to dispose of the maps and charts of the survey of the coast, from time to time, and under such regulations as he may prescribe, besides those distributed gratuitously among foreign governments, the departments of our own Government, and literary and scientific associations.

Steamboat Inspectors

The laws of the United States provide for the inspection of the hulls and steamboilers of merchant, passenger, and excursion vessels propelled by steam in United States waters, owned in the United States, except on canals.

From time to time the President appoints a Supervising Inspector-General, who is selected with reference to his fitness and ability to reduce to a system and carry into effect all the provisions of the law relating to steamboat inspection.

Under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, it is his business to superintend the administration of the steamboat inspection laws and regulations; preside at the meetings of the board of supervising inspectors; receive all reports of inspectors; receive and examine all accounts of inspectors, and report fully, at stated periods, to the Secretary of the Treasury, upon all matters pertaining to his official duties.

Inspection Districts

The United States are divided into ten inspection districts, each of which is in charge of a supervising inspector, appointed by the President, each of whom is chosen for his knowledge, skill and practical experience in the uses of steam for navigation, and who must be a competent judge of the character and qualities of steam vessels and all parts of the machinery used in steaming.

Annual Meetings

The supervising inspectors and Supervising Inspector-General assemble as a board at Washington once a year (in January), and at such other times as the Secretary of the Treasury may require, for joint consultation, and assign to each supervising inspector the limits of territory in which he is to perform his duties. The board also establishes all essential regulations necessary to carry out in the most effective manner the provisions of the laws. These regulations, when approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, have the force of law.

Each supervising inspector watches over all parts of the territory assigned to him; visits and confers with, and examines into the doings of the local boards of inspectors within his district, and instructs them in the proper performance of their duties; and, whenever he deems it expedient, he visits any licensed vessels at his discretion, and examines their condition with reference to the inspection laws and regulations having been observed and complied with, both by the owners or masters, or the board of inspectors.

Restrictions Upon Inspectors

No person who is directly or indirectly interested in any patent required to be used on any steamer by the steamboat inspection laws, or who is a member of any association of owners, masters, engineers or pilots of steamboats, or who is directly or indirectly interested in any steam-vessel, or who is intemperate in his habits, or who does not possess the required skill or experience, may not hold the office of either supervising or local inspector, and if any such person attempts to perform the functions of an inspector, he is punishable by a fine of $500 and dismissal from office.

Must Not Employ Unlicensed Officers

The boards of local inspectors license and classify the masters, chief mates, engineers and pilots of all steam-vessels, and it is a punishable offense for any steamboat owner to employ an unlicensed officer of these grades.

Whenever a supervising inspector ascertains that any of the above-named steamboat officers fails to perform his duty according to law, he is required to report him to the board of local inspectors in the district where the vessel was inspected or belongs, and if necessary or expedient, to have the offending party prosecuted; and if the local board is in fault for licensing him the facts must be investigated, and the delinquent inspectors are liable to removal from office.

It is the duty of the inspecting supervisors to see that the local boards faithfully perform their duties of inspection; to inspect boats and grant licenses in districts where there are no local boards, or where it is difficult to apply to them; to furnish to local inspectors all needful information concerning licensed persons, individuals from whom licenses have been withheld, or whose licenses have been revoked or suspended; boats whose owners have refused or neglected to have them properly repaired, and persons who have been refused certificates.