b'SAFETY MATTERSSAFETYNew Regulations in theWake of the M/V Conception FireERIC CHRISTENSEN // PVA DIRECTOR OF REGULATORY AFFAIRS & RISK MANAGEMENTO nTuesday,Dec.27,2021,theU.S.definition, a small passenger vessel is less than 1005. No less than two independent avenuesCoast Guard published an interim rulegross regulatory tons.The 2020 CGAA added aof escape for all general areas accessible in the Federal Register that implementsnew paragraph (n) to 46 USC 3306 requiring theto passengers, that are constructed and thestatutorilymandatedrequirementsforsecretary to issue interim requirements to coverarranged to allow for unobstructed fire safety on certain covered small passengerthe following eight provisions: egress, located so that if one avenue of vessels. This statutory mandate is in responseescape is not available, another avenue to the fire and loss of life on the dive boat M/V1. Marine firefighting training programsof escape is available, and not directly Conception off the coast of California on Sept. 2,to improve crewmember training andabove, or dependent on, a berth (for 2019. The interim rule adds additional fire safetyproficiency, including egress trainingcovered SPVs with overnight passenger requirements for certain small passenger vessels,for each member of the crew; accommodations);including fire detection and suppression systems, avenues of escape, egress drills, crew firefighting2. Interconnected fire detection equip- 6. Handling, storage, and operation oftraining, watchmen monitoring devices, and thement and additional fire extinguishersflammable items, such as rechargeable handling of potentially hazardous or flammableand firefighting equipment in all areasbatteries, including lithium-ion items such as rechargeable batteries. on board where passengers and crewbatteries;have access;LEGISLATIVE MANDATE 7. Requirements for passenger emergen- The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 20203. Installmonitoring devices to cy egress drills (for covered SPVs with(2020 CGAA) amended section 3306 of titleensure wakefulness of the overnight passenger accommodations); 46 United States Code (USC), directing the sec- required night watch (for coveredandretary of the Department of Homeland SecuritySPVs with overnight passenger (DHS) to prescribe fire safety regulations for cer- accommodations); 8. Providing all passengers a copy of the tain covered small passenger vessels. These ves- emergency egress plan for the vessel sels are defined as small passenger vessels (SPVs)4. Increased fire detection and sup- (for covered SPVs with overnightwith overnight accommodations for passengers,pression systems in unmanned areaspassenger accommodations).oroperatingonoceansorcoastwiseroutes,with machinery or areas with other excluding fishing vessels and ferries. By statutorypotential heat sources; APPLICABILITY OF THE INTERIM RULEThe interim rule is applicable to SPVs that have overnight accommodations for passengers or operate on a coastwise or oceans route as indi-cated on the Certificate of Inspection (COI), that are not ferries or fishing vessels. The new regulations do not apply to vessels on limited coastwise,lakes,bays,andsounds,orrivers routes unless they have overnight accommoda-tions for passengers.Thetermovernightaccommodationsis already defined in the regulations and as stated in the interim rule includes an accommo-dationspaceforusebypassengersthathas one or more berths, including beds or bunks, forpassengerstorestforextendedperiods. Staterooms, cabins, and berthing areas are nor-mally overnight accommodation spaces. The Coast Guard goes on to clarify that overnight accommodations do not include spaces that contain only seats, including reclining seats. The second statement refers to sport fishing vesselsorothervesselsthattakepassengers offshore for extended periods, usually leaving early in the morning, but not overnight.FOGHORN 22'