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COAST GUARD ANNOUNCES PROPOSED NEW REGULATIONS FOR SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coast Guard has announced publication of a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) in today's Federal Register that proposes to completely update the existing construction and equipment standards for small passenger vessels.
 The SNPRM proposes additional changes based on numerous comments the Coast Guard received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in the Jan. 30, 1989, Federal Register (54 FR 4412).
 The proposed regulations would apply to over 5,200 small passenger vessels. They include ferries, sight-seeing, excursion and dinner cruise boats, charter and party fishing boats, dive boats and offshore oil industry crew boats. Collectively, they represent the largest category of commercial vessels subject to U.S. inspection.
 The proposed requirements are tiered by size of vessel and propose separate more comprehensive standards for small passenger vessels that carry more than 150 passengers or have overnight accommodations for more than 49 passengers. The proposal also would provide alternative requirements to certain lifesaving equipment; promote increased use of commercially available fire retardant materials without prior evaluation and approval by the Coast Guard; and establish new upper thresholds for vessel length and passenger capacity above which certain construction and equipment requirements for a passenger vessel of more than 100 gross tons would apply. In general, existing vessels would have a phase-in period to meet certain new equipment requirements.
 The proposed changes would simplify the small passenger vessel requirements and update them to accommodate the advanced technology, larger size and increased passenger capacity of the small passenger vessels that are now being built.
 The Coast Guard will accept written comments for 150 days from date of publication in the Federal Register. Comments may be sent to Commandant (G-LRA/3406) (CGD 85-080), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 20593-0001.
 A schedule of public hearings will be announced at a later date. For more information or copies of this notice, contact Lt. Cmdr. Marc C. Cruder, Project Manager, Merchant Vessel Inspection and Documentation Division (G-MVI), at 202-267-1181.
 -0- 1/13/94
 /CONTACT: James O'Dell of the U.S. Coast Guard, 202-267-6491/


CO: U.S. Coast Guard ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN MAR SU: EXE

IH-KW -- DC999 -- 1093 01/13/94 12:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1994
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