NACO is pleased to announce that on Monday evening, February 1, we achieved one of our greatest accomplishments for NACO members and the For-Hire Industy. The passage of the USCG Bill includes language that eliminates the 2010 requirement that all USCG certified passenger vessels that carry more than 6 passengers must replace required life floats with out of the water survival craft. The 2010 requirement was to go into effect on February 26th.
Section 301 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, when signed into law, will supersede the current requirement mandating all COI vessels to install out of the water survival craft. That requirement was originally enacted in the year 2010. In June of 2011 NACO contacted the other National and Regional Passenger Associations to form a coalition to work to change the 2010 law. NACO and our partners worked overtime since then to convince Congress to reconsider its decision. Although some familiar with Congressional activities said we would not succeed, our persistence and unity of action persevered.
The last step is for the President to sign H.R. 4188. Congress will deliver the bill to the White House in a few days. Once it arrives there, the President will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or simply let it become law without his signature. There is no indication that the President will veto the legislation.
Once H.R. 4188 (including section 301) becomes law a large number of NACO vessel owners will be relieved of the out of the water survival craft mandate of the 2010 law. Current Coast Guard regulations specifying the type of survival craft (life floats, IBAs, etc.) applicable to a specific vessel will continue unchanged.