Good news for passenger operators in Coast Guard Authorization Act

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 is headed for President Obama’s signature — and the final bill includes a welcome clause for passenger vessel operators.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed the measure on Monday, with language that would exempt most passenger operators from a 2010 mandate that all passenger vessels be be equipped with survival craft that ensures that no part of an individual is immersed in water.

As recently as September, the Coast Guard was reminding operators that they had until Feb. 26, 2016, to meet compliance with the 2010 law. 

The new language supersedes that one-size-fits-all requirement and requires that passenger vessels carry out-of-water survival craft only if “such vessel is built or undergoes a major conversion after January 1, 2016; and operates in cold water as determined by the Secretary.”

Current Coast Guard regulations specifying the type of survival craft (life floats, IBAs, etc.) applicable to a specific vessel will continue unchanged.

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

The Passenger Vessel Association has lobbied aggressively to change the 2010 law and issued an update to members Tuesday morning about the changes.

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Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is WorkBoat's online editor.

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