Background on the Passenger Vessel Rulemaking

When guidelines for transit vehicles originally were issued under the ADA, the Board and the Department of Transportation (DOT) decided that further study was needed before guidelines could be developed for passenger vessels.  The agencies sponsored a study that examined the impact of access to vessels and shore facilities.  This project was completed in July 1996 and provided valuable information for rulemaking.  The Board and DOT also held an information meeting with organizations representing people with disabilities and the marine industry to determine the scope and complexity of the rulemaking.

Proposed Guidelines

Previous Draft Guidelines

Advisory Committees


Related Information

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued ADA regulations to protect the rights of passengers with disabilities aboard vessels (see 49 CFR Part 39).  The rule took effect November 3, 2010.


  • August 12, 1998 - Board creates Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee
  • December 2000 - Advisory Committee presents its final report to the Board
  • August 20, 2003 - Board holds public meeting in New Orleans on the embarkation and disembarkation of passenger vessels by persons with disabilities
  • September 9, 2003 - Board holds public meeting in Seattle on the embarkation and disembarkation of passenger vessels by persons with disabilities
  • November 26, 2004 - Board issues draft guidelines for large vessels and a notice concerning guidelines for small vessels
  • July 28, 2005 – Deadline for public comments on the draft guidelines
  • July 7, 2006 - Board issues revised draft guidelines for large vessels, ferries, and tenders
  • November 13, 2006 – Deadline for comments on the revised draft guidelines.
  • August 13, 2007 - Board creates Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee (PVEAAC)
  • June 26, 2008 - Board makes available 2008 Draft Passenger Vessel Accessibility Guidelines and 10 vessel case studies to support a public information meeting
  • October 14, 2008 - PVEAAC submits its final report to the Board
  • June 18, 2013 - Board releases proposed guidelines for passenger vessels for public comment
  • January 24, 2014 - Deadline for public comment on the proposed guidelines