New Web App Plugs Seafarers into US Environmental Laws

Jan 22, 2013

Expanding materials developed in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, SCI gives seafarers an easy way to brief themselves on US environmental laws. A new web app, enviroguides.us, allows merchant mariners to use the web browser on any device (mobile phone, tablet or computer) to inquire about and search a constructive summary of the laws affecting seafarers when operating in American coastal waters.

In the last few years, seafarers entering United States waters have encountered vigorous and frequent investigations and prosecutions of environmental crimes and related offenses. To help navigate the “sea” of authoritative statutes, last year SCI whittled down volumes of US environmental regulations on discharge and pollution into practical guides. A new electronic version of these guides takes them one step further in accessibility.

SCI designed a new web app specifically with seafarers in mind, giving them access to US environmental regulations from anywhere in the world. Seafarers no longer have to search indices or leaf through pages to find pertinent information. Key search terms and icons put information at their fingertips, and the web app uses a web browser as a client, meaning a seafarer need not install any software. The app instinctively adapts to desktop computer monitors and mobile phones, and seafarers can “pin” the content to home screens for easy access.

Within SCI’s web app, seafarers can download pamphlets, PowerPoint presentations and ask questions of advocates at the Institute. The web app brings in other useful content on US environmental laws to help seafarers, too. SCI integrates the short film presented by Marine Defenders, Oil in Our Waters, along with an iPhone app developed by the Marine Defenders Project for reporting pollution.

Seafarers encounter many different types of waste during the course of their work, all of which they must dispose of according to national and international laws and regulations. On the front lines of maritime operations, seafarers stand most able to help the United States monitor and keep its waters safe and clean. With this new web app, SCI equips seafarers with facts on applicable practices and reporting information so they can make informed decisions about actions on board and activities ashore.