Jay Lloyd’s Getaway: Coast Guard Updates Water Safety Regulations

(An Ellis Island tour boat gets a US Coast Guard escort in New York Harbor.  Credit: Jay Lloyd)

(An Ellis Island tour boat gets a US Coast Guard escort in New York Harbor. Credit: Jay Lloyd)

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Waterborne getaways this year will have a new feel, and heightened safety, thanks to a major new Coast Guard regulation.

by Jay Lloyd
KYW Newsradio 1060

If you head out on a ferry, a tour boat, or a water taxi in US waters, you’ll have more elbow room and less chance of an unexpected dunking.

As 2011 came to a close, the US Coast Guard began enforcing a new regulation on passenger occupancy.

A series of deadly capsizing accidents in recent years led engineers to realize that the previous occupancy regulations for water transport didn’t take into consideration America’s love affair with burgers and fries.  We’ve been packing on more pounds and more robust girth growth.

Where passengers had averaged out at 165 pounds forty years ago, the number now is 185.  So, the same number of people that you had on deck then are now tipping the scales at rates that are tipping the boats.

The guardian of America’s waterways made the occupancy change, and presto: fewer passengers on board and, hopefully, a safer ride.

But don’t forget: it’s still a good idea to know where the lifejackets are.

 

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