August 20, 2008
USCG seeks rule change on passenger weights
In a move that will be instantly understandable to anyone who has ever been on line at a dinner boat buffet, the U.S. Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations governing the stability of passenger vessels and the maximum number of passengers that may safely be permitted on board a vessel.
This could mean a significant reduction is the passenger capacity of some vessels.
The average American weighs significantly more than the assumed average weight per person utilized in current regulations, and the maximum number of persons permitted on a vessel is determined by several factors, including an assumed average weight for each passenger.
Among other things, the Coast Guard is proposing using an average passenger weight of 185 pounds rather than the current 160 pounds. What's more, it wants to up the average weight used whenever new CDC statistics indicate such a change is needed
Besides proposing that intact stability and subdivision and damage stability requirements utilize an updated assumed average weight per person, the Coast Guard proposes adding more specific requirements for a vessel owner or operator to show that the vessel meets intact stability and subdivision and damage stability standards, including provisions accounting for possible changes in vessel and weight per person. To help ensure that vessels maintain the intended safety levels after initial certification, USCG would clarify the requirement that stability information be checked at each annual inspection or COI renewal to confirm that it is still valid for the loading and service intended.USCG also proposes requiring stability verification--including calculations--at least every ten years.
Read the text of today's Federal register announcement HERE