As a Recognized Classification Society, we are given broad authority to provide external regulatory services of surveying, auditing, approving (plans/modifications,exceptions) and acting on behalf of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for a number of items.  This authority is coupled with a similar degree of responsibility for ensuring safety and pollution prevention for our clients.  

We have been classing, auditing and surveying vessels since 1899 and have been authorized to perform vessel survey functions on U.S. flagged vessels on behalf of the USCG.   

These functions include: 

  • the authority to measure vessels
  • conduct initial and subsequent surveys
  • periodic re-inspections and examinations including dry-docking examinations
  • authority to issue and endorse certain certificates for U.S. flagged vessels, both in the United States and in foreign countries
  • review and approval of vessel plans in the same manner as if approved by the U.S. Coast Guard 



Before it can be registered under classification, a vessel must be surveyed in accordance with technical rules and guidelines of ClassNK.  The vessel will be issued a certificate of classification and will be entered into ClassNK's Register of Ships.  Periodic and occasional surveys will be conducted on registered vessels to verify if the vessels satisfy the requirements of class.  

International Safety Management

With the international recognition of the critical importance of the human factor for the prevention of marine casualties, together with the need to enhance the management of ship operations, the International Safety Management (ISM) Code has been incorporated into the SOLAS Convention.  ClassNK conducts such audits on behalf of more than 60 major flag Administrations and issues the ISM Code certificates under their authority.


We have the authority to issue domestic load line certificates that meet the requirements of the U.S. load line regulations.  If your vessel will be voyaging to foreign ports or waters then we can issue international load line certificates that meet the requirements of the IMO International Convention on Load Lines (ICLL).  

New Construction

We have established technical standards that require design, construction and arrangement of vessels to comply to a specific level of safety.  There are various design and construction related tests and surveys that a newbuilding undergoes between the vessel's order and its final delivery.   

Under the authority of Title 46, United States Code (USC) Section 3316, ClassNK has entered into a formal agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard to provide statutory survey and certification functions for U.S. flagged vessels.  The delegated functions performed by, and statutory certificates issued by, an authorized classification society will be accepted as functions performed by, or certificates issued by, the Coast Guard.

With the publication of the final rule of 46 CFR Subchapter M in the Federal Register, ClassNK is updating its standards and guidelines in accordance with the regulations.  Please contact the ClassNK America Headquarters at (201)-944-8021 or NY@ClassNK.or.jp, should you have any questions regarding our compliance verification services.