Coast Guard guidelines for vessel transit planning are intended to maximize operational effectiveness. Each vessel in the fleet is expected to transit at a speed that uses fuel efficiently; enabling the unit to spend more time in the operating area, reducing wear on engines and saving money. Regrettably there is not an effective monitoring and enforcement mechanism to ensure personnel adhere to these standards.
Two factors lead to this inefficiency; fuel accounts are centrally managed leaving commanders only a modest incentive to operate at the most cost effective speeds, and organizational metrics focus primarily on operational results.
While many evolutions involve transits where speed is discretionary and does not affect mission success; there are times when critical missions – such as search and rescue – demand higher speeds and increased rates of fuel consumption
Develop a fuel consumption model based on known factors including patrol requirements, distance between homeport and operating area, transit speeds, etc. Allocate budget to the unit’s operations and maintenance account for 95% of the projected fuel costs. Maintain remaining funds in the centralized fuel account to support unforeseen operational requirements that necessitate extraordinary fuel requirements.
Evaluate personnel’s efficient use of all resources. One of the evaluation factors on the Coast Guard Officer Evaluation Report is entitled “Using Resources” and Described as: “Ability to manage time, materials, information, money and people (i.e. all CG components as well as external publics).” Revise this description to include an officer’s ability to efficiently use fuel during the course of routine operations.