Passenger Vessel Case Studies

Executive Order 12866 requires Federal agencies to submit certain regulatory actions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, together with an assessment of the benefits and costs of the rule. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze the impacts of rules on small entities and alternatives for minimizing any significant economic impacts. As part of the regulatory assessment and analysis of this rule, the Board will conduct case studies of passenger vessels that have been recently constructed or are currently under design or construction. The case studies will review the original designs of the passenger vessels to identify passenger features that would not meet this draft of the guidelines and propose new designs for the features that would meet the draft guidelines. The case studies will estimate the costs for the new designs and examine the impacts of the new designs on the vessel’s space, electrical power, fuel consumption, and stability.

The Board has completed sample case studies of a dinner boat and vehicle ferry to show the kinds of information that can be obtained by this method. The sample case studies have been placed in the rulemaking docket and are available on the Access Board’s website for review. The sample case studies are further discussed at the end of this section. Based on the information collected from the case studies and the comments received on this draft of the guidelines, the Board expects to further evaluate and possibly revise some provisions of the draft guidelines before publishing an NPRM.

When the first draft of the guidelines was made available in 2004, the Board analyzed data on passenger vessels that were constructed since 1997 and proposed a draft plan to conduct case studies of 9 passenger vessels. Based on this draft of the guidelines and responses to comments on the draft plan, the Board now proposes to conduct case studies of 14 passenger vessels as shown in the table below, including 2 additional cruise ships and 3 additional ferries.

Case Study Criteria

Cruise

  • Post-panamax cruise ship, 1350 to 1600 cabins
  • Cruise ship, 1000 to 1200 cabins
  • Cruise ship, 100 to 200 cabins
  • Coastal cruise ship, 25 to 100 cabins

Ferry

  • Vehicle ferry, 25 knots, 200+ passengers, 20+ vehicles
  • Vehicle ferry, 10+ knots, 1,000+ passengers, 60+ vehicles
  • Vehicle ferry, 10+ knots, 150+ passengers, 20+ vehicles
  • Vehicle ferry, 10+ knots, 150 or fewer passengers, 20 or fewer vehicles
  • Passenger only ferry, 25+ knots, 150+ passengers
  • Passenger only ferry, 10+ knots, 150+ passengers
  • Passenger only ferry, 10+ knots, 150 or fewer passengers

Other

  • Large harbor dinner/sightseeing vessel, 3+ decks, 400+ passengers
  • Small harbor dinner/sightseeing vessel, 2+ decks, 150 to 400 passengers
  • Offshore excursion/ whale watching vessel, 2+ decks, 150+ passengers

The Board is interested in identifying passenger vessels that meet the criteria in the table above and that have been recently constructed or are currently under design or construction for the case studies. Vessel owners and operators are encouraged to contact the Board if they are willing to participate in the case studies.

Question 8: This draft includes provisions in V201.1.3 and V1102 through V1104 for tenders that carry 60 or more passengers. These provisions require at least two wheelchair spaces with securement systems; an accessible route to the wheelchair spaces; a method to facilitate boarding passengers with disabilities. Do tenders that have been recently constructed or are under design or construction provide wheelchair spaces with securement systems? What impacts will these provisions have on newly constructed tenders? Should the Board conduct a case study of a tender?

The International Council of Cruise Lines requested that a case study be conducted of a sailing cruise ship that carries 50 or more overnight passengers. The Board does not propose to conduct a case study of a sailing cruise ship because the International Council of Cruise Lines has not identified any vessels of this type that will be constructed within the next five years.

The Passenger Vessel Association and the American Gaming Association requested the Board to evaluate the impact of the draft guidelines on aisle widths in gaming areas on gaming vessels. Gaming areas would be considered assembly areas under the draft guidelines, and would be required to meet the provisions for wheelchair spaces in V221 and V802 where fixed seating is provided. The Board reviewed the plans for a gaming vessel, and determined that wheelchair spaces could be located and dispersed so as not to project into the paths of means of escape required by the US Coast Guard. The Board has also included a question in this draft seeking comment on whether at least five percent of each type of fixed element should be required to comply with the provisions for operable parts in V205 and V309 where areas in passenger vessels have a large number of the same type of fixed elements such as gaming devices. A clear deck space would have to be provided at operable parts that are required to comply with V205 and V309. The clear deck spaces can overlap each other and adjoining accessible routes, and portable seats can be located within the clear deck spaces. Thus, the draft guidelines are not expected to have any impact on aisle widths in gaming areas, and the Board does not propose to conduct a case study of a gaming vessel.

As noted above, the Board has completed sample case studies of a dinner boat and vehicle ferry . For the dinner boat case study, the Board contracted with a marine architect to identify passenger features in the original designs that would not meet the draft guidelines and propose new designs for the features that would meet the draft guidelines; and the vessel designer and vessel owner were given an opportunity to review and comment on the case study. For the vehicle ferry case study, the Board worked directly with the vessel owner to identify passenger features in the original designs that would not meet the draft guidelines and propose new designs for the features that would meet the draft guidelines. The Board prefers to work directly with vessel owners or operators and vessel designers for the remaining case studies and to contract with other experts as needed.

In the sample case studies, where new designs are proposed to meet the draft guidelines, the designs are identified as having significant impacts; incurring additional costs but not having significant impacts; or having minimal impacts. A design is identified as having a significant impact where the design would add more than 0.5 percent to vessel’s construction costs; would substantially reduce the vessel’s usable space or necessitate an increase in the vessel’s size; or would present major operational issues. A design is identified as incurring an additional cost but not having a significant impact where a specific cost can be attributed to the design but it does not meet the criteria for a significant impact. A design is identified as having a minimal impact where a specific cost cannot be attributed to the design and it will have little impact on new construction of the vessel. Examples of designs having minimal impacts include locating doors to provide maneuvering clearance without reducing usable space; configuring fixtures in toilet rooms to provide required clearances without increasing the size of the room; and lowering a portion of a service counter without reducing the total counter space area.

In the dinner boat case study, new designs are proposed for the following passenger features to meet the draft guidelines that would have significant impacts on the vessel: a limited-use/limited-application (LULA) elevator to connect the three passenger decks; a platform lift to connect a swim platform to the main deck; and single and double ramp access at doors with coamings. Additional costs would be incurred for new designs for the toilet rooms on the second deck, assistive listening systems, and accessible signs but these designs would not have significant impacts on the vessel. The elevator and new designs for the toilet rooms would reduce the usable space in the dining areas. The vessel would be lengthened by four feet to retain the same amount of usable space in the dining areas. The cost for constructing a new dinner boat based on the original designs is estimated at approximately $5.1 million. The new designs to meet the draft guidelines would add from $0.5 million to $0.6 million to the vessel’s construction costs, or a 10 percent to 12 percent increase. About 80 percent to 90 percent of the additional costs are attributed to the elevator and the lengthening of the vessel. The elevator and the lengthening of the vessel would also increase the vessel’s fuel consumption by approximately 3,000 to 4,500 gallons annually.

In the vehicle ferry case study, new designs are proposed for the following passenger features to meet the draft guidelines that would have significant impacts: a platform lift to connect the passenger amenities on the second deck to the entry deck; an accessible route within the main deck; and main deck slope. Additional costs would be incurred for new designs for toilet rooms, handrail extensions on gangways, wheelchair spaces in seating areas and at tables, a drinking fountain, and guardrails under certain stairways but these designs would not have significant impacts on the vessel. The cost for constructing a new vehicle ferry based on the original designs is estimated at approximately $8 million. The new designs to meet the draft guidelines would add from $206,250 to $256,250 to the vessel’s construction costs, or a 2.6 percent to 3.2 percent increase. About 75 percent to 80 percent of the additional costs are attributed to the platform lift. The accessible route within the main deck would result in the loss of four car spaces on the main deck.

Question 9: The Board seeks comments on the sample case studies. The Board is particularly interested in the following:

  1. Do the case studies adequately describe the impacts of the draft guidelines on the vessels?
  2. Are the cost estimates for constructing new vessels based on the original designs reasonable?
  3. Are the cost estimates for the new designs to meet the draft guidelines reasonable?
  4. How can the case studies be improved?
  5. Are the impacts described in the case studies representative of the impacts on other newly constructed vessels of the same type that are similar in design and size? If the impacts on similar vessels are different, please provide details on how the impacts differ.
  6. Are there existing dinner boats or dinner boats currently under design or construction that have or will have elevators or platform lifts? How much does the elevator or platform lift add to the vessel’s construction costs?
  7. How would a 10 percent to 12 percent increase in the construction costs for a dinner boat that is similar in design and size as the dinner boat in the case study affect the vessel owner’s or operator’s business?
  8. How do existing vehicle ferries or vehicle ferries currently under design or construction that are similar in design and size as the vehicle ferry in the case study address the need for an accessible route within the main deck?
  9. How would a 2.6 percent to 3.2 percent increase in the construction costs for a vehicle ferry that is similar in design and size as the vehicle ferry in the case study affect the vessel owner’s or operator’s business?
  10. Are there other methods the Board should consider for identifying the impacts of the draft guidelines on newly constructed vessels and estimating costs?