Senator Urges CG to Set Passenger Limits for All Recreational Boats

Byline: Log News Service

NEW YORK (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer July 15 called on the Coast Guard to establish capacity limits for recreational boats larger than 20 feet in length and require that those limits be visibly posted on board.

“I strongly urge the United States Coast Guard to implement regulations that would require all recreational vessels to establish capacity requirements, and to require posting of the requirements on the vessels in a highly visible location for all passengers to see,” Schumer wrote in a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr.

“It doesn’t make much sense that we require capacity limits be posted for most everything from ballrooms to classrooms, and boats under 20 feet in size, but not recreational vessels over 20 feet,” Schumer said in a statement.

The present regulations Schumer referred to, Code of Federal Regulations sections 183.21-27, require that all monohull boats smaller than 20 feet in length — except sailboats, canoes, kayaks and inflatable boats — display a plate showing their maximum passenger count, weight capacity and maximum horsepower capacity or the statement “This boat not rated for propulsion by a motor.”

According to Schumer, the Coast Guard has the authority to expand the present regulations without a change in the underlying federal law.

Schumer’s request came after the tragic loss of three children who were trapped in the cabin aboard a 34-foot powerboat carrying 27 passengers, which capsized and sank following a July 4 fireworks show off Long Island.

Authorities are investigating whether overcrowding, a mechanical problem, weather conditions or other factors played a part in the capsizing. Safety experts have said the boat was overcrowded, but the skipper has blamed the tragedy on a sudden wave.

— This story includes information from the Associated Press.

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