Port Security and Public Safety

Port Houston maintains a steadfast commitment to safety and security in compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security administer and enforce the regulations governing port security procedures, as detailed in 33 CFR, 105.

Port Houston maintains its own emergency first responders – Port Police and Fire departments – which are well trained in emergency response tactics. In the event of an emergency, call the Port’s Dispatch Center, at 713-670-3611.


On March 27, 2008, the Port Security & Emergency Operations Department Security Management System (SMS) was certified to ISO 28000:2007, making it the first port in the world to receive this international security designation. This international standard sets out stringent requirements for a security management system that incorporates all aspects of business management.

This achievement is one of many firsts at Port Houston, and demonstrates the port’s leadership in security management.

Learn more about our overall security program, partnerships and federal funding here.

Port Houston’s public terminals are regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard, MTSA regulations, 33 CFR 105 in accordance with Facility Security Plans on file with the U.S. Coast Guard. To make sure that you comply with these regulations, be sure and follow all signage at gates and instructions by security guards.

In accordance with federal security regulations, random vehicle screenings are performed at Port Houston entry points. Refusal to permit this screening will result in denied access.

Do your part for Port Security by presenting a:

  • Valid ID at entry points,
  • Submitting to random vehicle screening when requested,
  • Obeying posted signs and requirements, and
  • Reporting suspicious activity to Port Dispatch Center at 713-670-3620.

Police Department


The Port Police and security officials work together to provide around-the-clock emergency response on Port Houston facilities, and coordinate activities with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

But YOU play an important role in helping keep the port safe. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Call the Port’s Dispatch Center if you see anything suspicious including people, unattended packages/backpacks or people taking photos.

Under the provisions in our Facility Security Plans, which go into effect on January 1, 2016, neither concealed nor open carry of firearms is permitted in Port Houston’s facilities, including buildings, docks and other secured or restricted areas. If you have any questions concerning these provisions, please contact the Chief of Police.

For TCOLE Training Opportunities offered by the Port Police, consult the Training Calendar, Training Registration Form and Training Center Rules.

If you have a compliment or a complaint about an officer, please refer to these instructions. For a compliment, complete this form and email it to msmith@poha.com.

We are members of Houston Crime Stoppers. Anyone wanting to remain anonymous and share any info can call 713-222-TIPS (8477), or Text to: CRIMES274637, then text TIP610 plus your tip.

Fire Department

The Port of Houston Fire Department currently operates three fire stations strategically stationed along the Houston Ship Channel. The personnel and equipment fight marine and land fires and respond to other emergencies throughout the ship channel and its tributaries.

Port Houston operates three fireboats, three HAZMAT trucks, 3 class A pumpers and to respond to fires, rescue, hazardous materials and oil spills and releases. The boats are capable of long range stays at terminal or shipboard fires with quick crew change over. The boats help the ship channel industrial complex stay strong and safe.

All of our fire fighters are certified by the state of Texas as Structural Firefighter, Marine Firefighter, HazMat Technician and EMT. All our pilots and captains are licensed U.S. Coast Guard masters.

Hot work permits are required for any welding or hot work – oxyacetylene, electric or any other welding or burning or other ‘hot work’ – within the territorial jurisdiction of the Port. A hot work permit is obtained from the Port of Houston Fire Department for any welding, burning or other hot work to be performed at Port Authority facilities. Contact the Port of Houston Fire Inspector for a hot work permit between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.  Arrangements to obtain a hot work permit should be made 24 hours prior to hot work being performed except in emergency situations.

For an after-hour emergency situation, a hot work permit can be obtained by contacting port dispatch who will notify the appropriate fire department personnel.

Emergency Management

The primary goal of Emergency Management at Port Houston is to ensure the effective management of response forces and resources in preparing for and responding to situations including natural disasters, national security emergencies and technological incidents. Emergency management continually works with other Port departments, local and regional emergency management and public safety officials to lessen the impact that emergencies and disasters have on the port by focusing on the four phases of emergency management. The four phases of emergency management are: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

Port Alert, powered by AtHoc, is a multi-functional mass emergency notification system capable of connecting with Port Houston employees, tenants, ILA workers, nearby facilities and other local, state and federal agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol. To get more information about Port Alert, including how to sign up, email us at OEM@poha.com.

For more information about emergency management, contact Colin Rizzo at crizzo@poha.com.


Port Houston is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment to all employees, contractors, and visitors alike.

Our safety policy is based on the principal that all injuries are preventable, with absolutely no tolerance of unsafe conditions or behaviors.

Port Houston employees have made a personal commitment to a safe work environment by immersing themselves in the safety culture.  The port is committed to continual improvement of its operations and the prevention of injury and illnesses by focusing on health, safety, quality, productivity, cost effectiveness and environmental improvement.











  1. Notice: The Houston Ship Channel above the I-610 (Sidney Sherman) bridge is open to ship traffic, but daylight restricted and limited to 106’ beam and 33’ draft. The Turning Basin is limited to 25’ draft upstream of City Dock 13 and City Dock 2.