Coast Guard Passenger-Limit Rule Reflects Americans' Weight Gain

The average U.S. adult weighs significantly more today than a few decades ago, prompting the U.S. Coast Guard to implement nationwide regulations that could restrict the number of passengers allowed on board a vessel.

The new vessel-stability rules raised the estimated weight of an average adult passenger from 160 pounds to 185 pounds.

The regulation follows population data from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting a dramatic weight increase in the past two decades. An estimated one-third of U.S. adults are considered obese, according to the CDC.

The vessel-stability rules apply to any passenger vessel that carries six or more paid customers, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Each vessel is inspected for stability by the Coast Guard and given a weight restriction, the spokeswoman said. The Department of Homeland Security uses an Assumed Average Weight per Person to set weight restrictions on boats based on their size and capacity.

Many ferry and charter-boat operators have begun reducing the number of passengers allowed on board.

The Coast Guard last implemented changes to the rules in 1960, when the average adult weight was between 140 and 160 pounds.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 19, 2013.Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 19, 2013.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Photo
PHOTO: Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad, 24, and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir, 21, aim their weapon during a deployment near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants in Nawaran near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016.
Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
PHOTO: A man uses an electronic cigarette in this undated file photo.
Martina Paraninfi/Getty Images
PHOTO: President George H.W. Bush and his son President George W. Bush have no plans to endorse Donald Trump, their spokesman told ABC News.
Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage/Getty Images; Tom Pennington/Getty Images; David McNew/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., On May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires.
Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP