Between the Waves Podcast - Quick Note on HR 3409, USCG Reauthorization Act of 2020


Between the Waves Podcast
Quick Note on HR 3409, USCG Reauthorization Act of 2020, Episode 12
*This is a transcript of the "HR 3409 USCG Reauthorization Act of 2020" episode of NASBLA's Podcast, Between the Waves, from August 3, 2020. 

While we don't often track federal legislation on a regular basis. I thought it would be important for you to hear about some recent action that may be important to each of us.

This is Between the Waves, an audio series to discuss the topics important to today’s water safety professional. Here’s your host from the great state of Texas, Cody Jones.

The U.S. House of Representatives, just passed the Elijah E. Cummings, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Now, you may be asking yourself why this is important to us.

Well, I'll tell you.  This act includes provisions that may be critical to the safety of millions of American boaters. This bill expands upon the previously adopted provisions in the past reauthorization bill, two years prior, which required manufacturers to equip recreational vessels with engine cut-off devices, and would, if passed, now require the use of such a device by the operator of the vessel under 26 feet in length, while operating on plane or above displacement speed.

The language does provide for an exemption if the vessel was not equipped with one at the time of manufacturing, or if the main helm is within an enclosed cabin.

The Act also provides for equivalency, which is something our community has needed for some time now. The language states that the Secretary may accept a substitution for associated equipment performance, or other safety standards for a recreational vessel, if the substitution provides an equivalent level of safety.

Although the House has passed similar legislation in 2019, the U.S. Senate was unable to reach an agreement in time. House and Senate leaders have spent the past several months negotiating the new agreement, which passed the House last week, and is expected to move forward in the Senate.

This, without a doubt, will lead to reductions in deaths on our nation's waterways, and also a more expedited process to address future safety needs through equivalency. For a close look at the bill you can go to and search for HR 3409. Until next time, stay safe.


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