handicaped accessable vessel requirements

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by boatbuilder41, May 31, 2014.

  1. boatbuilder41
    Joined: Feb 2013
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    Location: panama city florida

    boatbuilder41 Senior Member

    Does anyone know where i can find requirements for handicapped access on a u.s. c.g. approved passenger vessels this vessel is 65' and certified for 129 persons. i can only find requirements for D.O.T.approved vessels . this vessel is a tour boat and is not used for transportation purposes. so the A.D.A.of 1990 reguirements doesnt apply . or does it ???i know there is proposed recent changes but i cant find anything in writing.
  2. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    As a purely practical matter, if the tour is part of park operations or associated with some other business such as a resort through a concessions contract, you can do fairly well by trying to match the philosophy and emphasis of the parent operation. With respect to outdoor recreation, The ADA really isn't the thing. It was specifically crafted for the (uncrewed) build up environment, and a boat isn't much like a post office. (Which didn't prevent the USFS from loosing a case on ADA grounds, although no one can figure out how they manged to do that.)

    You can certainly benefit from a knowledge of ADA dimensional criteria, but in the end, the disabilities (and level of independence) that the ADA puts the most emphasis on may not be the ones that are most appropriate for your circumstances. Your ability to have crew provide some assistance to guests is a difference between ADA and the outdoor rec universe.

    I would emphasize consideration of EP's, the crew's ability to assist, and the ability to provide a comparable (as opposed to identical) experience for those who can not be accommodated. Ever try to get a life jacket on someone who is in a wheel chair, on oxygen, and weighs over 400 pounds? That stuff just isn't going to show up in the regs. Your crew has to be trained to handle stuff like that. You may need to be able to train the person's companion to provide help in the event of an emergency so that the crew isn't tied up with one passenger. You may need to limit the number of disabled persons on any one trip. Also, the Captain's decision still trumps the ADA for now, as far as I can tell.

    In terms of comparable experiences, you could do things like produce an audio and video version of the tour, which can be presented on site by a tour guide. I don't think I have ever seen a compliant restroom on a boat that small (assuming it's just a head boat, bench seating for 129.) Heck, I haven't seen a restroom I could use easily on one that small.

    In short, It is still necessary to treat these requirements on a case by case basis in the outdoor rec business. Try to anticipate the sort of issues you are most likely to encounter. Are they age related. Do you plan on marketing to nursing homes? Or school children?
  3. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: GulfCoast

    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    The U.S. Access Board has prepared a report concerning issues with ADA compliance aboard passenger vessels.


    From skimming this report, it appears to have been written about 1996. At that time, apparently, no specific regulations or exemptions for passenger vessels had been written into the ADA law or the accompanying regulations implementing this law. ADA compliance may not be required for USCG certification for a passenger vessel, but if you are going to be operating a vessel open to the public, you must make "reasonable" accommodation for persons with disabilities under ADA, not only while they are aboard the vessel but also in providing access to board the vessel while it is dockside.

  4. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: GulfCoast

    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

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