Preamble

Published in Federal Register on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

36 CFR Chapter XI
Docket No. ATBCB 2013-0003
RIN 3014-AA11

AGENCY:  Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION:  Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

SUMMARY:  We, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), are proposing accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that the vessels are readily accessible to and usable by passengers with disabilities.  The guidelines would apply to passenger vessels, other than ferries and tenders, permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers; ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers; and tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are required to issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA that are consistent with our guidelines.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

DATES:  Submit comments by September 23, 2013.  A hearing will be held on the proposed guidelines on July 10, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  To pre-register to testify at the hearing, contact Al Baes at (202) 272-0011 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

ADDRESSES:  Submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.  Regulations.gov ID for this docket is ATBCB-2013-0003.
  • E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Include docket number ATBCB-2013-0003 in the subject line of the message.
  • Fax:  202-272-0081.
  • Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier:  Paul Beatty, Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC  20004-1111.

All comments received, including any personal information provided, will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and are available for public viewing.

The hearing will be held in the Access Board Conference Room, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004. Witnesses can testify in person or by telephone.  Call-in information and a communication access real-time translation (CART) web streaming link will be posted on the Access Board’s Passenger Vessels homepage at http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.  The hearing will be accessible to persons with disabilities.  An assistive listening system, communication access real-time translation (in-person and streaming), sign language interpreters, and a call-in number will be provided. Persons attending the meetings are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of other participants (see www.access-board.gov/about/policies/fragrance.htm for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Paul Beatty, Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111.  Telephone:  (202) 272-0012 (voice) or (202) 272-0072 (TTY).  E-mail address:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents for Preamble

  1. Public Participation and Request for Comments
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Availability of Proposed Guidelines with Figures and Advisory Sections
  4. Statutory and Regulatory Background
  5. Rulemaking History
  6. Barrier Removal, and Operational and Service Issues Addressed by DOT and DOJ
  7. Discussion of Proposed Guidelines
  8. Regulatory Analyses

In this preamble, “we” and “our” refer to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board).1

1.  Public Participation and Request for Comments

We encourage all persons interested in the rulemaking to submit comments on the proposed guidelines and the questions in the preamble.  Instructions for submitting and viewing comments are provided above under Addresses.  We will consider all the comments and may change the proposed guidelines based on the comments.

2.  Executive Summary

Legal Authority and Purpose

We are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to establish and maintain accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA to ensure that the vessels are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  We are issuing proposed accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels pursuant to this authority to address the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers encountered by individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities on passenger vessels.  For example, the proposed guidelines would enable individuals with mobility disabilities to access and use passenger amenities on the vessels, such as seating areas, toilet rooms, and guest rooms.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are required to issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA that are consistent with our guidelines.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

Summary of Key Provisions

The proposed guidelines would apply to the construction and alteration of passenger vessels, other than ferries and tenders, permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers; ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers; and tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.  The proposed guidelines would not apply to smaller passenger vessels because providing accessible features on those vessels present greater challenges due to space constraints and other considerations.  The proposed guidelines, themselves, would not require existing passenger vessels to be made accessible except where altered.

The proposed guidelines contain proposed scoping and technical provisions.  The proposed scoping provisions specify what passenger vessel features would be required to be accessible.  Where multiple features of the same type are provided, the proposed scoping provisions specify how many of the features would be required to be accessible.  The proposed technical provisions specify the design criteria for accessible features.  The passenger vessel features addressed by the proposed scoping and technical provisions include onboard accessible routes connecting passenger decks and passenger amenities within decks; accessible means of escape; doorways and coamings; toilet rooms; wheelchair spaces in assembly areas and transportation seating areas; assistive listening systems; general emergency alarms; guest rooms; and other passenger amenities.

The most significant provisions in the proposed guidelines include the following:

  • An elevator, or on certain passenger vessels a limited use-limited application elevator (LULA) or platform lift, would be required to connect passenger decks, unless one of ten proposed exceptions apply.  The proposed provision would enable passengers with mobility disabilities to access and use the passenger amenities on the vessels.  For new vessels, we estimate an elevator to cost $371,000; a LULA to cost $297,400; and a platform lift to cost $108,700.
  • A minimum number of guest rooms with mobility features would be required on cruise ships.  Cruise ships with 501 to 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 3 percent of guest rooms with mobility features.  Cruise ships with more than 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 30 guest rooms with mobility features for the first 1,000 guest rooms (3 percent), plus 2 guest rooms with mobility features for each additional 100 guest rooms or fraction thereof over 1,000 (2 percent).  The minimum number is consistent with data on the percentage of the population who use mobility devices.  The proposed provision would enable passengers who use wheelchairs, scooters, or other mobility devices to access and use the guest rooms.  We estimate the proposed provision would result in a gross revenue loss annualized over 20 years of $50 million discounted at 7 percent, and $58 million discounted at 3 percent for new cruise ships permitted to carry 300 or more overnight passengers.
Summary of Costs and Benefits

The primary estimates of the costs and benefits of the proposed guidelines are shown in Table 1.  We estimate the total compliance costs of the proposed guidelines annualized over 20 years are $66 million discounted at 7 percent, and $74 million discounted at 3 percent.  We do not quantify the benefits of the proposed guidelines due to the nature of the benefits.  The proposed guidelines would address the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers encountered by individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities on passenger vessels.  The proposed guidelines would afford these individuals equal opportunity to travel on passenger vessels for employment, transportation, public accommodation, and leisure.  The proposed guidelines would enable these individuals to achieve greater participation in society, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.  The benefits are difficult to quantify, but include important national values recognized in Executive Order 13563 such as equity, human dignity, and fairness.

Table 1.  Primary Estimates of Costs and Benefits of Proposed Guidelines
Annualized Over 20 Years (2011 Dollars)
  7% Discount Rate 3% Discount Rate
Costs $66 million $74 million
Benefits The proposed guidelines would address the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers encountered by individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities on passenger vessels.  The proposed guidelines would afford these individuals equal opportunity to travel on passenger vessels for employment, transportation, public accommodation, and leisure.  The benefits are difficult to quantify, but include important national values recognized in Executive Order 13563 such as equity, human dignity, and fairness.

3.  Availability of Proposed Guidelines with Figures and Advisory Sections

The proposed guidelines would be codified as an appendix to 36 CFR part 1196.  The proposed guidelines with figures and advisory sections are available at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/ and http://www.regulations.gov.  The figures illustrate the technical provisions and do not establish mandatory requirements except for symbols.  The proposed guidelines would require the use of symbols to identify elevator control buttons, the International Symbol of Accessibility, the International Symbol of TTY, and the International Symbol for Access to Hearing Loss.  Since use of these symbols would be mandatory, the figures displaying the symbols are included in the proposed guidelines.  The advisory sections provide guidance and are not mandatory requirements.  However, some advisory sections reference related mandatory requirements to alert readers about those requirements.

Question 1.  Can the figures be improved to better illustrate the technical provisions?  Can the advisory sections be improved to provide better guidance?

4.  Statutory and Regulatory Background

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  See 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.  Title II of the ADA applies to state and local governments and Title III of the ADA applies to places of public accommodation operated by private entities.2  The ADA covers designated public transportation services provided by state and local governments and specified public transportation services provided by private entities that are primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce.3  See 42 U.S.C. 12141 to 12147 and 12184.  Passenger vessels that provide designated public transportation services and specified public transportation services such as ferries and excursion vessels, and passenger vessels that are places of public accommodation such as vessels that provide dinner or sightseeing cruises are covered by the ADA.

We are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 504 of the ADA to establish and maintain accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA to ensure that the vessels are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  See 29 U.S.C. 792 (b) (3) and 42 U.S.C. 12204.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for issuing regulations to implement the transportation provisions of Titles II and III of the ADA.  See 42 U.S.C. 12149 and 12186 (a).  DOT has issued regulations for passenger vessels used to provide designated public transportation services by state and local governments and specified public transportation services by private entities that are primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce.  See 49 CFR part 39.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for issuing regulations to implement the other provisions of Titles II and III of the ADA.  See 42 U.S.C. 12134 and 12186 (b).  DOJ has issued regulations for state and local governments and places of public accommodation operated by private entities, including public accommodations provided on passenger vessels such as cruise ships, gaming vessels, and dinner vessels.  See 28 CFR parts 35 and 36.

Titles II and III of the ADA require DOT and DOJ to issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the law that are consistent with our guidelines.  See 42 U.S.C. 12134 (c), 12149 (b), and 12186 (c).  DOT has reserved a subpart in its regulations for accessibility standards for passenger vessels in anticipation of these proposed guidelines.  See 49 CFR part 39, subpart E.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

5.  Rulemaking History

We have developed and maintained accessibility guidelines for landside facilities for over 30 years.  The guidelines for landside facilities represent the state-of-the-art for accessible design.  We worked with passenger vessel owners and operators, the disability community, and other interested parties over the past 15 years to address the unique constraints of the marine environment and adapt the guidelines for landside facilities to passenger vessels.

Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee

In 1998, we convened a Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee comprised of passenger vessel owners and operators, industry trade groups, disability advocacy groups, and state and local government agencies to recommend how to adapt the guidelines for landside facilities to passenger vessels. The advisory committee submitted a report with recommended guidelines in 2000.

2004 Draft Guidelines and ANPRM

Based on the advisory committee’s report, we developed draft guidelines for passenger vessels permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers.  In 2004, we released the draft guidelines for comment and issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on small passenger vessels permitted to carry 150 or fewer passengers or 49 or fewer overnight passengers.  See 69 FR 69244 and 69245, November 26, 2004.  The ANPRM requested comment on whether and how to develop accessibility guidelines for small passenger vessels.  We held hearings in Washington, DC and Los Angeles on the 2004 draft guidelines and the ANPRM, and received more than 90 comments.

2006 Draft Guidelines

Based on the comments on the 2004 draft guidelines and ANPRM, we revised the draft guidelines in 2006 to cover all ferries; other passenger vessels permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or 49 overnight passengers; and tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.  We released the 2006 draft guidelines for comment.  See 71 FR 38563, July 7, 2006.  We received more than 175 comments on the 2006 draft guidelines.

Case Studies

Between 2005 and 2008, we conducted case studies of ten passenger vessels to identify the impact of the draft guidelines on the vessels.  We worked with vessel owners and operators, naval architects, and ship builders to review the original designs of the vessels and to identify design changes that would be needed to meet the draft guidelines.  The naval architects and ship builders estimated the cost of the design changes, and considered the impact of the design changes on the passenger vessel’s space, fuel consumption, and stability.  We prepared reports on the case studies.  We updated the case study reports to reflect changes to the proposed guidelines from earlier drafts and to adjust the cost estimates to 2011 dollars.

Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee

Comments on the 2006 draft guidelines raised issues about emergency alarm systems on passenger vessels alerting passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss.  We convened a Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee in 2007 comprised of passenger vessel owners and operators, industry trade groups, organizations representing individuals who are deaf or have a hearing loss, and standard setting organizations to address the comments.  The advisory committee submitted a report with its recommendations in 2008.  The advisory committee recommended that general emergency alarm systems include visible elements to alert passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss, and recommended safeguards against triggering photosensitive seizures in individuals with epilepsy.  The advisory committee recommended that the visible elements on U.S. flag vessels comply with the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code.  The advisory committee recommended that the U.S. Coast Guard work with the International Maritime Organization to develop guidelines for including visible elements in general emergency alarm systems on foreign flag vessels.  The International Maritime Organization approved non-mandatory guidelines for including visible elements in general emergency alarm systems in 2012.4

The advisory committee recommended that portable devices be permitted in guest rooms, and that the Cruise Lines International Association develop guidelines to ensure that portable devices would be effective and reliable in alerting and awakening passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss when general emergency alarms and guest room smoke detector alarms are activated.  The Cruise Lines International Association convened a group to develop guidelines for portable devices but, after the group met, it concluded that it did not have the expertise for the task.  The advisory committee also recommended that assistive listening systems and visual displays be used to communicate safety briefings and emergency instructions to passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

2008 Draft Guidelines

Based on the comments on the 2006 draft guidelines and the case studies, we revised the draft guidelines in 2008.  The 2008 draft guidelines covered ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers; other passenger vessels permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers; and tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.

The advisory committee reports, ANPRM, earlier drafts of the guidelines, comments on the ANPRM and earlier drafts of the guidelines, updated case study reports, and other background information on the proposed guidelines are available at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.  We used all this information to develop the proposed guidelines.

6.  Barrier Removal, and Operational and Service Issues Addressed by DOT and DOJ

Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines were concerned about the impact of the guidelines on barrier removal in existing passenger vessels.  The ADA requires private entities to remove architectural, communication, and transportation barriers in existing facilities where it is readily achievable.  See 42 U.S.C. 12182 (b) (2) (A) (iv).  The ADA defines readily achievable as easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense, and includes factors for determining whether an action is readily achievable.  See 42 U.S.C. 12181 (9).  DOJ has issued regulations on barrier removal in public accommodations that apply to public accommodations on passenger vessels.  See 28 CFR 36.304.  The passenger vessels accessibility guidelines are not required to be used for barrier removal until DOJ adopts them as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels.  When DOJ issues accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels, it will address the application of the passenger vessels standards to barrier removal.

Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines also noted operational and service issues that affect accessibility, including passageways blocked by luggage or housekeeping carts; need for real time captioning of announcements; and access to shore excursions offered by cruise ships.  DOT and DOJ are responsible for issuing regulations pertaining to operational and service issues.  DOT and DOJ have issued regulations addressing maintenance of accessible features (28 CFR 35.133 and 36.211), and auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication (28 CFR 35.160 and 36.303; and 49 CFR 39.51 and 39.89).

7.  Discussion of Proposed Guidelines

The proposed guidelines consist of 11 chapters.  Chapter V 1 addresses the application and administration of the proposed guidelines.  Chapter V 2 contains proposed scoping provisions.  Chapters V 3 through V 10 contain proposed technical provisions.  Chapter V 11 contains proposed scoping and technical provisions for tenders.

We are committed to writing guidelines that are clear, concise, and easy to understand so that persons who use the guidelines know what is required.

Question 2.  Is there language in the proposed guidelines that is ambiguous or not clear?  Comments should identify specific language in the proposed guidelines that is ambiguous or not clear and, where possible, recommend language that is clear.

The proposed guidelines use mandatory language (i.e., shall) so DOT and DOJ can adopt the guidelines as accessibility standards.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

We tried to avoid conflicts with mandatory requirements of foreign nations for foreign flag vessels.  The DOT regulations establish a procedure for requesting a waiver where a mandatory requirement of a foreign nation precludes compliance with a requirement in the DOT regulations.  See 49 CFR 39.9.  When DOT issues accessibility standards for the new construction and alteration of passenger vessels subject to its jurisdiction, owners and operators of foreign flag vessels can use the procedure in the DOT regulations to request a waiver where a mandatory requirement of a foreign nation precludes compliance with a provision in the accessibility standards.

Chapter V 1: Application and Administration
V101 Purpose

The proposed guidelines contain proposed scoping and technical provisions to ensure that passenger vessels are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  The proposed scoping and technical provisions are to be applied during the design, construction, additions to, and alteration of passenger vessels to the extent required by regulations issued by DOT and DOJ under the ADA.

V102 Dimensions for Adults and Children

The proposed guidelines are based on adult dimensions and anthropometrics.  The proposed guidelines include proposed technical provisions based on children’s dimensions and anthropometrics for drinking fountains, water closets, toilet compartments, lavatories and sinks, and tables and counters.

V103 Equivalent Facilitation

The use of alternative designs or technologies that result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility than specified in the proposed guidelines would be permitted.

V104 Standard Practices

Dimensions that are not stated as maximum or minimum would be absolute.  Absolute dimensions would be subject to conventional industry tolerances.  Slopes would be measured when the passenger vessel is in a static design condition at full load.  This section also addresses calculation of percentages.

V105 Referenced Standards

This section lists standards that are referenced in the proposed guidelines and where the standards can be obtained.  The proposed guidelines would require U.S. flag vessels equipped with a general emergency alarm system or smoke alarms in guest rooms to provide visible notification appliances complying with the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code in public areas and in guest rooms with communication features.  The proposed guidelines also would require passenger vessels that provide play areas to comply with the ASTM F1292 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Play Equipment and ASTM F1951 Standard Specification for Determination of Accessibility of Surface Systems Under and Around Play Equipment.

Earlier drafts of the guidelines considered referencing U.S. safety standards for power assisted and power operated doors, elevators, platform lifts, and sprinkler systems.  Comments from the cruise industry noted that foreign flag vessels comply with foreign safety standards that may conflict with U.S. safety standards.  To avoid conflicts, the proposed guidelines do not reference these U.S. safety standards.

V106 Definitions

This section defines terms used in the proposed guidelines.  The term administrative authority is used throughout the proposed guidelines and is defined in this section.5  For U.S. flag vessels, the administrative authority would be the U.S. Coast Guard.  For foreign flag vessels, the administrative authority would be the entity designated by the foreign nation that adopts or enforces regulations and guidelines for the design, construction, or alteration of passenger vessels.  The other defined terms are discussed under the section where the term is used.  Terms not defined in the proposed guidelines, DOT and DOJ regulations implementing the ADA, U.S. Coast Guard regulations, or standards referenced in the guidelines would be defined by collegiate dictionaries.

Chapter V 2: Scoping Requirements

Chapter V 2 contains proposed scoping provisions that specify the passenger vessels to which the proposed guidelines would apply and what features would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in Chapters V 3 through V 11.

V201.1 Scope

The proposed guidelines would apply to all areas of newly designed and newly constructed passenger vessels and altered portions of existing passenger vessels with passenger capacities described below, unless a provision in the guidelines would exempt an area or limit the number of features that would be required to comply with the guidelines where multiple features of the same type are provided.

V201.1.1 Large Vessels

The Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee recommended guidelines for passenger vessels subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapters H and K.6  Subchapter H covers passenger vessels that are 100 gross tons or more, and carry more than 12 passengers or are a ferry and carry at least 1 passenger.7  See 46 CFR 70.05-1.  Subchapter K covers passenger vessels that are less than 100 gross tons, and carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers.  See 46 CFR 114.110.  Because determining the gross tonnage of a passenger vessel is a complicated process and many foreign flag vessels are not subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, the 2004 draft guidelines considered covering passenger vessels based on the Subchapter K passenger capacity (i.e., carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers).  Comments on the 2004 draft guidelines, including comments from the Passenger Vessel Association, supported this approach.  The proposed guidelines would apply to passenger vessels, other than ferries and tenders, permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers.8

As shown in Table 2, we estimate there were 346 multi-purpose vessels such as excursion and dinner vessels permitted to carry more than 150 passengers, and 145 cruise ships permitted to carry more than 49 overnight passengers operating in U.S. ports as of 2010 – 2011.  The vessels are listed in Appendices I and II to the regulatory assessment, along with the data sources.

Table 2.  Multi-Purpose Vessels Permitted to Carry More Than 150 Passengers & Cruise Ships Permitted to Carry More Than 49 Overnight Passengers Operating in U.S. Ports as of 2010 – 2011
Vessel Type Number of Vessels

Notes: 
1.  Vessels as of 2010.
2.  Vessels as of 2011.

Multi-Purpose Vessels

346¹

Small Cruise Ships (50 to 299 overnight passengers)

32¹

Large Cruise Ships (300 or more overnight passengers)

113²

We request comment on the proposed scoping provision for large passenger vessels.

Question 3.  Should alternative scoping provisions apply to large passenger vessels?  Comments should explain the basis for recommending alternative scoping provisions for large passenger vessels.

We conducted case studies of two multi-purpose vessels and one small cruise ship to estimate the incremental cost to construct the vessels in compliance with the proposed guidelines, and the additional annual operation and maintenance costs due to the proposed guidelines.  We did not conduct case studies of large cruise ships because we could not find cruise ship owners or operators to participate in case studies.9

We present in Table 3 our estimates of the incremental construction costs for the case study vessels, which is difference between the cost of constructing the vessels in the absence of the proposed guidelines (pre-guidelines construction cost) and the cost of constructing the vessels in compliance with the proposed guidelines (post-guidelines construction cost), as a percent increase in construction costs.  Our estimates of the pre-guidelines construction costs and incremental construction costs for the case study vessels are presented in dollars in the case study reports and in Table 7 in the regulatory assessment.  The construction costs for the case study vessels would increase by 3.2 percent to 9.9 percent.  One case study vessel has two entry decks and currently provides an inclined platform lift to connect the two entry decks.  The inclined platform lift is included in the pre-guidelines construction cost.  If the vessel did not provide an inclined platform lift, the construction costs would increase by 5.3 percent if an inclined lift is provided, and 8.1 percent if a vertical platform lift is provided.  One case study vessel would have a 5 percent to 10 percent annual increase in fuel consumption due to the proposed guidelines.

Table 3.  Estimated Compliance Costs for Case Study
Multi-Purpose Vessels & Small Cruise Ship
Case Study Vessels Percent Increase in Construction Costs Additional Annual Operation & Maintenance Costs

Note: 
1.  The vessel has two entry decks and currently provides an inclined platform lift to connect the two entry decks.  The inclined platform lift is included in the pre-guidelines construction cost.  If the vessel did not provide an inclined platform lift, the construction costs would increase by 5.3% if an inclined lift is provided, and 8.1% if a vertical platform lift is provided.

300 Passenger Excursion Vessel 3.2%¹ Not significant
600 Passenger Dinner Vessel 9.9% 5% to 10% increase in fuel consumption
120 Passenger Small Cruise Ship 3.2% Not significant
V201.1.2 Ferries

A ferry would be defined in V106.5 as a vessel that is used on a regular schedule to: (1) provide transportation only between places that are not more than 300 miles apart; and (2) transport only passengers, or vehicles or railroad cars used in transporting passengers or goods.  This definition is based on the definition of a ferry in 46 U.S.C. 2101 (10b).

Ferries differ from multi-purpose vessels and cruise ships that are used primarily for leisure purposes.  Ferries serve a critical transportation function.  Ferries provide commuter services in major metropolitan areas on both coasts, and link roadways and communities separated by bodies of water.  Ferries transport people to work, school, health care facilities, and other places critical to daily living.  Because ferries serve a critical transportation function, the 2006 draft guidelines considered covering all ferries regardless of passenger capacity.  Comments from ferry owners and operators and the Passenger Vessel Association did not support this approach because it would be more difficult and costly for small ferries to comply with the draft guidelines.  Based on the comments, the 2008 draft guidelines considered covering ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers.

Like the 2008 draft guidelines, the proposed guidelines would apply to ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers.  The proposed scoping provision for ferries is broader than for multi-purpose vessels because ferries serve a critical transportation function.  The 2008 National Census of Ferry Operators shows that about 700 active ferries provided an estimated 106 million passenger trips in 2007.10  The ferries operated in 37 states and 3 U.S. territories.  We estimate there were 454 ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers as of 2010.  As shown in Table 4, 221 of these ferries are permitted to carry between 100 and 150 passengers, and 130 of these ferries are permitted to carry 149 or 150 passengers.11  The ferries are listed in Appendix I to the regulatory assessment, along with the data sources.  Applying the same scoping provision proposed for multi-purpose vessels to ferries would result in many ferries being inaccessible to individuals with disabilities.

Table 4.  Ferries Permitted to Carry Between 100 and 150 Passengers as of 2010
Passenger Capacity Multi-Hull Ferries Mono-Hull Ferries Total
Passengers Only Passengers & Vehicles
150 16 27 7 50
149 28 21 31 80
140 - 148 4 21 15 40
130 - 139 0 1 5 6
120 - 129 1 3 2 6
110 - 119 2 3 9 14
100 - 109 2 7 6 15
Total 53 83 75 221

We request comment on the proposed scoping provision for ferries.

Question 4.  Should alternative scoping provisions apply to ferries?  Comments should explain the basis for recommending alternative scoping provisions for ferries.

We conducted case studies of seven ferries to estimate the incremental construction costs and additional annual operation and maintenance costs due to the proposed guidelines.  Where the proposed guidelines would result in a reduction of passenger or vehicle capacity or a reduction of passenger amenities such as fixed seating or storage space provided on the vessel, the case studies examined two design options.12  The first design option did not increase the ferry size; the second design option increased the ferry size to maintain the passenger and vehicle capacity, and the same passenger amenities.13  As shown in Table 5, the construction costs for the case study ferries permitted to carry more than 300 passengers would increase by 1.2 percent to 4.2 percent.  The construction costs for the case study ferries permitted to carry 149 to 150 passengers would increase by less than 1 percent to 1.8 percent for the first design option (ferry size not increased), and by 6.7 percent to 12.5 percent for the second design option (ferry size increased).  The construction costs for the 108 passenger multi-hull ferry would increase by 1.1 percent for the first design option (ferry size not increased), and 24.5 percent for the second design option (ferry size increased).  The construction cost increase for the 108 passenger multi-hull ferry is high for the second design option because the ferry owner wanted to lengthen the ferry by 10 feet based on the owner’s experience with a larger ferry, instead of the 5 feet minimum needed to maintain the ferry’s seating and storage capacity.  If the 108 passenger multi-hull ferry is lengthened by 5 feet, instead of 10 feet, the construction costs would increase by 14 percent to 17 percent, instead of 24.5 percent.

Table 5.  Estimated Compliance Costs for Case Study Ferries

Case Study Ferry

Percent Increase in Construction Costs

Additional Annual Operation & Maintenance Costs

Notes: 
1.  The ferry owner wanted to lengthen the ferry by 10 feet for second design option based on the owner’s experience with a larger ferry, instead of the 5 feet minimum needed to maintain the ferry’s seating and storage capacity.  If the ferry is lengthened by 5 feet, instead of 10 feet, the construction costs would increase by 14% to 17%, instead of 24.5%.  The annual increase in fuel consumption would also be less if the ferry is lengthened by 5 feet, instead of 10 feet.
2.  The case study does include a second design option because the ferry owner was not concerned about the loss of some fixed seating.

108 Passenger Multi-Hull Ferry Design Option 1:  Ferry Size Not Increased
1.1%; 6 to 8 seats and storage lost; revenue loss not estimated None
Design Option 2:  Ferry Size Increased
24.5%¹; No seats or storage lost 18% increase in fuel consumption
149 Passenger Multi-Hull Ferry Design Option 1:  Ferry Size Not Increased
1.8%; 7 seats lost; Annual revenue loss: $134,500 None
Design Option 2:  Ferry Size Increased
12.5%; No seats lost 3% to 6.6% increase in fuel consumption
150 Passenger & 20 Vehicle Mono-Hull Ferry Design Option 1:  Ferry Size Not Increased
Less than 1%; One vehicle space lost; Annual revenue loss: $51,000 to $86,000 None
Design Option 2:  Ferry Size Increased
6.7%; No vehicle space lost Not significant
300 Passenger & 40 Vehicle Mono-Hull Ferry 3.0%; 2 to 4 seats lost² Not significant
399 Passenger Mono-Hull Ferry 2.2%; 10 seats lost² None
450 Passenger Multi-Hull Ferry Design Option 1:  Ferry Size Not Increased
1.2%; 42 to 59 seats lost; Revenue loss not estimated None
Design Option 2:  Ferry Size Increased
4.2%;
No seats lost
10% increase in fuel consumption
4,400 Passenger & 30 Vehicle Mono-Hull Ferry 1.3%; 50 seats lost ² $1,100 to $1,300 per automatic door

The proposed provisions for onboard accessible routes, toilet rooms, wheelchair spaces in transportation seating areas, and assistive listening systems are estimated to have the highest compliance costs for ferries.  As discussed under V206 Onboard Accessible Routes, ten exceptions are proposed for onboard accessible routes to connect decks, and five of these exceptions are proposed to reduce the compliance costs for small vessels and high-speed vessels.

Three of the case study ferries would have an annual increase in fuel consumption due to the proposed guidelines under the second design option.  One case study ferry would have additional annual maintenance costs for providing automatic doors at doorways with coamings and double ramps.

We may conduct additional case studies of ferries permitted to carry between 100 and 150 passengers to obtain additional information on the compliance costs for these ferries.  Owners and operators of ferries that were recently constructed who are interested in participating in a case study are encouraged to contact us.  Based on review of the comments and any additional case studies, we may specify a different passenger capacity in the final guidelines for ferries that are covered by the guidelines or modify some of the provisions that would apply to ferries with certain passenger capacities.

Question 5.  We request comment on the following questions regarding ferries permitted to carry between 100 and 150 passengers:

(a) Is additional information available for estimating the compliance costs for these ferries, including incremental design, construction, operation and maintenance, lost net revenue, and any other costs?

(b) Would owners of these ferries reduce the passenger and vehicle capacity or reduce any passenger amenities such as fixed seating when the ferries are replaced due to the proposed guidelines, or would owners increase the size of the ferries to maintain the passenger and vehicle capacity, and the same passenger amenities?  If the passenger and vehicle capacity would be reduced or any passenger amenities would be reduced, we are interested in information to estimate the cost of such effects.

(c) Is there information available or methods for estimating the benefits of the proposed guidelines for these ferries such as number of new trips by passengers with disabilities or number of trips that would result in improved access for passengers with disabilities?

(d) Would the proposed guidelines have any unintended consequences for these ferries such as safety or vessel stability issues, slower travel times, docking issues due to increasing the size of the vessels, or inconveniences for other passengers such as fewer seats, less standing space, or fewer toilet rooms?  If so, we are interested in information to estimate the cost of such effects.

(e) Are there alternative provisions for onboard accessible routes, toilet rooms, wheelchair spaces in transportation seating areas, assistive listening systems, or other features addressed by the proposed guidelines that would reduce the compliance costs for these ferries?

V201.1.3 Tenders

A tender would be defined in V106.5 as a vessel primarily intended for transporting passengers for non-emergency purposes between passenger vessels and shore-side facilities.  Because it would be difficult for inflatable tenders to comply with the proposed guidelines and inflatable tenders do not carry more than 59 passengers, the proposed guidelines would apply to tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.  The proposed guidelines would require tenders to comply only with the proposed provisions in Chapters V 1 and V 11 because of the limited passenger amenities on tenders.  Existing tenders that are not altered, including those that serve newly constructed vessels, would not be required to comply with the proposed guidelines.  We request comment on the proposed scoping provision for tenders.

We do not have data on the number of existing tenders that carry more than 59 passengers.  We did not conduct a case study of a tender because the proposed provisions for tenders in Chapters V 1 and V 11 are minimal and new tenders met the provisions.

V202 Existing Passenger Vessels

When additions or alterations are made to existing passenger vessels, this section would require the additions or alterations to comply with the proposed provisions for new construction.  An addition would be defined in V106.5 as an expansion, extension, or increase in the gross deck area of a passenger vessel.  An alteration would be defined in V106.5 as a change to a passenger vessel that affects or could affect the usability of the passenger vessel or portion thereof.  Alterations would include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of bulkheads and partitions.  The definition would exclude normal maintenance, painting or wallpapering, or changes to propulsion, mechanical, and electrical systems unless they affect the usability of the passenger vessel.

Only the portions of a passenger vessel that are altered would be required to comply with the proposed provisions for new construction.  For example, if a toilet room on a passenger vessel is altered, the altered portions of the toilet room would be required to comply with the applicable proposed provisions for new construction.  Earlier drafts of the proposed guidelines included a provision that would have required a path of travel to altered areas containing a primary function.  This provision is not included in the proposed guidelines because the DOJ regulations require a path of travel to altered areas containing a primary function.  See 28 CFR 35.151 (b) and 36.403.

Three general exceptions are proposed in this section for alterations to existing passenger vessels.  Exception 1 would not require an onboard accessible route where elements or spaces are altered but the circulation path to the altered elements or spaces is not altered.

Exception 2 would require alterations to comply with the proposed guidelines to the maximum extent feasible where compliance is technically infeasible.  Technically infeasible would be defined in V106.5 with respect to an alteration as something that has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering an essential structural member; or because other existing physical or vessel constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features that are in full and strict compliance with the guidelines.

Exception 3 would require alterations to provide accessibility to the maximum extent feasible where compliance with the proposed guidelines would result in any of the following:

  • An increase in tonnage that changes the passenger vessel’s classification from 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter T (Small Passenger Vessels (Under 100 Gross Tons)) or 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter K (Small Passenger Vessels Carrying More Than 150 Passengers or With Overnight Accommodations For More Than 49 Passengers) to 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter H (Passenger Vessels);14
  • A violation of the minimum requirements established by the administrative authority for the stability of the vessel;
  • A reduction in the structural integrity or fire resistance of a Class A or B bulkhead or deck surface; or
  • An increase in power load in excess of the existing power supply.

Specific exceptions are also proposed in certain proposed provisions for alterations to existing passenger vessels, including:

  • Platform lifts would be permitted as a component of onboard accessible routes in alterations to existing passenger vessels.  V206.7 Exception.
  • An accessible means of escape would not be required in alterations to existing passenger vessels.  V207.1 Exception 2.
  • A unisex toilet room would be permitted in alterations to existing passenger vessels where it is technically infeasible for existing toilet rooms to comply with the proposed guidelines provided the unisex toilet room is located in the same area and on the same deck as the existing non-complying toilet rooms.  V213.2 Exception 2.
  • Visible alarms in public areas would not be required in alterations to existing passenger vessels unless an existing alarm system is upgraded or replaced, or a new alarm system installed.  V215.1 Exception 2.
  • Thresholds ¾ inch high maximum would be permitted at doorways without coamings in alterations to existing passenger vessels provided the thresholds have a beveled edge on each side with a slope not steeper than 1:2.  V404.2.5.1 Exception.
  • Running slopes not steeper than 1:8 for a maximum rise of 3 inches and not steeper than 1:10 for a maximum rise of 6 inches would be permitted in alterations to existing passenger vessels where necessary due to space limitations.  V405.2 Exception.
  • Elevator cars in altered elevators would not be required to comply with the proposed provision for car dimensions where the existing elevator car configuration provides a clear deck area 16 square feet minimum; an inside clear depth of 54 inches minimum; and an inside clear depth 36 inches minimum.  V407.4.1 Exception.
  • Alternative dimensions are proposed for sales and service counters in alterations to existing passenger vessels where compliance with the proposed provisions would result in a reduction of the number of existing counters at work stations.  V904.4 Exception.

Where the State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that compliance with the proposed provisions for onboard accessible routes or toilet rooms would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a qualified historic passenger vessel, exceptions are proposed for those features in V206.2.1 Exception 10 and V213.2 Exception 2.

We request comment on the proposed exceptions for alterations to existing passenger.

Question 6.  Should additional exceptions be provided for alterations to existing passenger vessels?  Comments should explain the basis for recommending additional exceptions.

We requested comment on the types and frequency of alterations to existing passenger vessels in earlier drafts of the guidelines.  The Cruise Lines International Association (formerly International Council of Cruise Lines) responded that when a new deck or mid-section is added to an existing cruise ship, it may not always be feasible for existing circulation paths on the vessel to comply with the proposed provisions for onboard accessible routes.  The proposed guidelines would not require existing circulation paths that are not otherwise altered to comply with the proposed provisions for onboard accessible routes when a new deck or mid-section is added to a cruise ship.

Question 7.  How many new decks or mid-sections are added to cruise ships in a year?  What features in the new decks or mid-sections would need to comply with the proposed guidelines?  Comments should include information to estimate the compliance costs.

Individual passenger vessel owners and operators responded that alterations generally involve installing new motors and pumps; redecorating toilet rooms; and changing chairs and equipment such as the beverage dispenser and dish washing machine on a dinner vessel.  The Passenger Vessel Association responded that passenger vessels generally do not undergo major alterations if there is no change in ownership because it would trigger a need to comply with subsequently developed U.S. Coast Guard regulations.  According to the Passenger Vessels Association, small cosmetic changes are made when a passenger vessel is transferred to a new owner in similar service.  Small cosmetic changes generally would not trigger a need to comply with the proposed guidelines.  The Passenger Vessel Association noted that if a passenger vessel changes service, more extensive changes may be undertaken.  For example, if an excursion vessel changes service to a dinner vessel, a galley would be added, passenger space lay outs would be changed, bulkheads may be moved, and stairways may be added or relocated.

Question 8.  How many passenger vessels change service in a year?  What altered features would need to comply with the proposed guidelines when passenger vessels change service?  Comments should include information to estimate the compliance costs.

Question 9.  In addition to adding new decks and mid-sections to cruise ships and undertaking alterations when passenger vessels change service, what other alterations are undertaken to existing passenger vessels that would need to comply with the proposed guidelines?  How often are these alterations undertaken?  We are interested in information to estimate the compliance costs.

V203 General Exceptions

This section proposes to exempt the following from the proposed guidelines: areas and features intended for use by employees only; limited access spaces; water slides; raised diving boards; certain diving and swimming platforms; raised boxing and wrestling rings; and furnishings that are not fixed to the vessel.  Where necessary to meet camber and sheer needs of the passenger vessel, running slopes and cross slopes would be required to meet the applicable technical provisions to the maximum extent feasible.

V204 Protruding Objects

Protruding objects along circulation paths, including objects mounted on wall surfaces and posts, are hazardous to passengers who are blind or have low vision.  This section would require protruding objects on circulation paths to comply with the proposed technical provisions for protruding objects in V307, including protrusion limits (V307.2); required clear width (V307.3); and vertical clearance (V307.4).  U.S. Coast Guard regulations for passenger vessels subject to 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapters H and K require stairways and stair towers to be clear of all obstructions other than handrails.  See 46 CFR 72.05-20 and 116.438(e).  This section would require stairways and stair towers that are required to comply with these U.S. Coast Guard regulations to be clear of all obstructions other than handrails to avoid conflicts.

The section would not apply to circulation paths used only by employees since V203.2 would not require employee areas to comply with the proposed guidelines.  Two exceptions are proposed.  Exception 1 would exempt circulation paths within areas of sport activity.  Exception 2 would exempt certain circulation paths within play areas.

V205 Operable Parts

An operable part would be defined in V106.5 as a component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element.  This section would require operable parts on accessible elements, on onboard accessible routes, and in accessible rooms and spaces to meet the proposed technical provisions in V309, including clear deck space (V309.2); height (V309.3); and operation (V309.4).  Exceptions are proposed for operable parts used only by employees, certain electrical or communication receptacles, HVAC diffusers, redundant controls other than light switches, and exercise machines.

V206 Onboard Accessible Routes

This section contains proposed scoping provisions for onboard accessible routes, which are discussed below.

Onboard Accessible Routes to Connect Passenger Decks

The proposed scoping provision in V206.2.1 would require at least one onboard accessible route to connect each passenger deck and mezzanine on multi-deck passenger vessels.  Where a passenger vessel has more than one entry deck, the section would require at least one onboard accessible route to connect each entry deck.  A deck would be defined in V106.5 as a horizontal division of a passenger vessel that contains space designed for passenger occupancy and generally corresponds to a story in a building.  A horizontal division without enclosed space, such as a sun deck, would be considered a deck even though it is not provided with a covering.  An entry deck would be defined in V106.5 as a deck that contains passenger entry and departure points that allow pedestrian passengers to embark or disembark a passenger vessel from fixed or floating piers, the land, or tenders in non-emergency situations.

The proposed scoping provision in V206.6 would require an elevator complying with the proposed technical provisions in V407 to connect the passenger decks.  The proposed scoping provision in V206.6 would permit a limited use-limited application elevator (LULA) complying with the proposed technical provisions in V408 to connect passenger decks on certain passenger vessels.  A LULA is a passenger elevator that is limited in use and application by size, capacity, speed, and rise.  Safety codes limit the maximum rise of a LULA to 25 feet.15  A LULA can be used to connect up to three decks.  The Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee recommended that a LULA be permitted to connect decks on passenger vessels that are less than 5,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships.  The Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee also recommended that where more than one elevator is provided on passenger vessels that are less than 10,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships, that the additional elevators be permitted to be a LULA.  The proposed guidelines would permit a LULA to connect decks on passenger vessels that are less than 10,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships.  We assume 85 passenger vessels listed in Appendix I to the regulatory assessment, which have 3 passenger decks and are not eligible to use the exceptions discussed below, are less than 10,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships, and new vessels that replace these vessels would be permitted to provide a LULA to connect the decks.  We also assume 12 passenger vessels listed in Appendix I to the regulatory assessment, which have 2 passenger decks and would need to provide access to passenger amenities that are not located on an entry deck such as transportation seating areas on a vehicle ferry, are less than 10,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships, and new vessels that replace these vessels would be permitted to provide a LULA to connect the decks.

Question 10.  Are any of the vessels listed in Appendix I to the regulatory assessment that we assume to be less than 10,000 gross tonnage calculated in accordance with the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships and would be permitted to provide a LULA to connect decks actually 10,000 or more gross tonnage?

Question 11.  Should criterion other than gross tonnage be used to determine when passenger vessels would be permitted to provide a LULA to connect decks?

The proposed scoping provision in V206.6 also would permit a LULA to be provided in passenger vessels eligible to use the exceptions discussed below, and where a platform lift is permitted.

The proposed scoping provision in V206.7 would permit platform lifts complying with the proposed technical provisions in V409 to connect decks that are less than 3,000 square feet.  Safety codes limit the maximum rise of a platform lift to 14 feet.16  The proposed scoping provision in V206.7 also would permit platform lifts to connect to decks where vertical clearance constraints on a passenger vessel route make use of an elevator infeasible.

Exceptions for Onboard Accessible Routes to Connect Decks

Ten exceptions are proposed in V206.2.1 for onboard accessible routes to connect decks.  Exceptions 1, 2, and 3 would reduce the compliance costs for small passenger vessels.  Exception 1 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect the decks on passenger vessels that have only two passenger decks unless both decks are entry decks.  Exception 2 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect decks that are not entry decks where each passenger deck is less than 3,000 square feet.  Exception 3 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect decks where a passenger vessel that is otherwise eligible to use Exceptions 1 or 2 has more than one entry deck and at least one designated entry deck: (1) serves each stop used for embarking and disembarking passengers; and (2) contains drinking fountains, toilet rooms, transportation seating areas, and guest rooms with mobility features, where such amenities are provided on the vessel.

Exceptions 4 and 5 would reduce the compliance costs for high-speed passenger vessels that cannot use Exceptions 1, 2, or 3.  Increasing the weight and size of high-speed passenger vessels has a significant impact on the fuel consumption on these vessels.  A case study of a high-speed passenger only ferry with two entry decks showed that adding a platform lift to connect the decks on the vessel and providing other accessible features would result in lengthening the vessel by 4 feet and increase the vessel’s fuel consumption by 10 percent.  The additional fuel costs could inhibit future construction of such vessels.

Exception 4 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect decks on high-speed passenger vessels that have only three passenger decks and do not transport vehicles or overnight passengers provided that at least one designated entry deck: (1) serves each stop used for embarking and disembarking passengers; (2) contains drinking fountains, toilet rooms, transportation seating areas, and guest rooms with mobility features, where such amenities are provided on the vessel; and (3) contains at least one exterior passenger area that is not covered by other decks, where an uncovered exterior passenger area is provided on the vessel.  Exception 4 would require access to certain passenger amenities on the designated entry deck similar to Exception 3 for small passenger vessels.  Because high-speed passenger vessels eligible to use Exception 4 are typically larger than vessels eligible to use Exception 3, Exception 4 also would require the designated entry deck to contain at least one exterior passenger area that is not covered by other decks, where an uncovered exterior passenger area is provided on the vessel.  Where windscreens are provided, this area could be located on the bow of the vessel.

Exception 5 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect to the sun deck on a high-speed passenger vessel that does not transport overnight passengers where the sun deck has no enclosed passenger spaces and is not an entry deck provided that at least one exterior passenger area that is not covered by other decks is provided on an entry deck or a deck connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route.  High-speed vehicle ferries and high-speed passenger only ferries with two entry decks that serve different stops used for embarking and disembarking passengers that are not eligible to use Exception 4 can use Exception 5 for a sun deck.

Exceptions 6 and 7 would reduce the compliance costs for vehicle ferries that are designed to accommodate vehicles with high clearances.  Where a passenger deck, other than an entry deck, is divided into two separate segments and no horizontal circulation path is provided between the two segments, Exception 6 would require an onboard accessible route to connect to only one segment of the divided deck.  Where decks containing vehicle parking lanes are designed to be raised and lowered and do not provide any other passenger amenities, Exception 7 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect to such decks.  Although adjustable decks would be exempt from being connected to onboard accessible routes, they would count as a passenger deck for purposes of determining the number of passenger decks the vessel contains.

Exception 8 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect to decks, other than entry decks, that are less than 300 square feet.

Exception 9 would not require an onboard accessible route to connect to decks below the bulkhead deck.  This exception addresses concerns about down flooding and onboard accessible routes between main vertical zones.  Passenger spaces typically are not located below the bulkhead deck, and other provisions ensure that passenger amenities such as toilet rooms and guest rooms with mobility features are located on decks that are connected to an onboard accessible route.

Exception 10 would apply to alterations to qualified historic passenger vessels and would not require an onboard accessible route to connect the decks on such vessels where the State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that compliance with the provisions for onboard accessible routes would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a qualified historic passenger vessel.

We reviewed data on 696 ferries, multi-purpose vessels, and small cruise ships that are expected to reach the end of their expected service over a 20 year period and are assumed to be replaced by new vessels in the regulatory assessment.  The data is summarized in Table 9 of the regulatory assessment.  We estimate 124 of the new vessels (18%) would be required to provide an elevator, LULA, or platform lift to connect decks, and the proposed exceptions would apply to 431 of the new vessels (62%).  We estimate 62 vessels (9%) currently provide an elevator, LULA, or platform lift, and assume the new vessels that replace these vessels would also provide an elevator, LULA, or platform lift in the absence of the proposed guidelines.  Eleven of these vessels are small cruise ships that would be required to provide larger elevators on the new vessels.  We estimate the other 79 vessels (11%) have only one passenger deck, and assume the new vessels that replace these vessels would not need an elevator, LULA, or platform lift.  In addition, we estimate 23 small cruise ships would be required to provide a platform lift to connect to a tender boarding platform at the stern of the new vessels.

We request comment on the proposed exceptions.

Question 12.  Would providing an elevator, LULA, or platform lift on passenger vessels not eligible to use the proposed exceptions adversely affect the safety or stability of the vessel?

Question 13.  Should additional exceptions be provided for onboard accessible routes to connect decks?  Comments should explain the basis for recommending additional exceptions.

Elements and Spaces on Decks That Are Not Connected to an Entry Deck by an Onboard Accessible Route

The proposed scoping provision in V201.1 would require all areas on newly designed and newly constructed passenger vessels to comply with the proposed guidelines.  Thus, elements and spaces provided on passenger decks that are not connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route would be required to comply with the proposed guidelines.  The proposed scoping provision is based on the guidelines for landside facilities.  Future additions to landside facilities can result in providing an accessible route to stories that were not required to be connected by an accessible route when the facility was first constructed.  The Passenger Vessel Association noted in comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines that future additions to existing passenger vessels are rare.  To reduce the compliance costs, we are considering an alternative provision for the final guidelines that would require elements and spaces provided on passenger decks that are not connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route to comply only with provisions that meet the needs of individuals with mobility disabilities who can use stairs and individuals with hearing and vision disabilities.  This would include the provisions for protruding objects (V204), operable parts (V205), general emergency alarms (V215), signage (V216), and assistive listening systems (V219).  We request comment on this alternative provision.

Question 14.  In addition to the provisions indicated above, what other provisions should apply to elements and spaces provided on passenger decks that are not connected by an onboard accessible route to an entry deck to meet the needs of individuals with mobility disabilities who can use stairs and individuals with hearing and vision disabilities?

Onboard Accessible Routes Within Decks

The proposed scoping provisions in V206.2.2 through V206.2.9 would require at least one onboard accessible route complying with the proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 4 to connect to the following: accessible spaces and elements; dining areas; performance areas and assembly seating areas; and certain recreation facilities.

Location

The proposed scoping provision in V206.3 would require onboard accessible routes to coincide with or be located in the same area as general passenger circulation paths.  Where two interior accessible spaces are connected by an interior passenger circulation path, an interior onboard accessible route would be required to connect the same spaces.  The interior onboard accessible route would be required to be not more than 300 feet longer than the shortest interior passenger circulation path connecting the two spaces.  An exception is proposed that would exempt smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet.

The Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee recommended the 300 feet distance.  The 300 feet distance is about twice the distance between main vertical zones required by the U.S. Coast Guard.  See 46 CFR 116.415 (d).  We request comment on the 300 feet distance.

Entry and Departure Points

The proposed scoping provision in V206.4 would require each passenger entry and departure point on a passenger vessel to be to on an onboard accessible route.  Where multiple tender boarding platforms are provided, only one platform on each side of the vessel would be required to be on an onboard accessible route.

Doors, Doorways, and Gates

The proposed scoping provision in V206.5 would require at least one door, doorway, or gate provided at accessible deck entry and departure points, and at least one door, doorway, or gate serving each accessible room or space to comply with the proposed technical provisions for doors, doorways, and gates in V404.

Elevators

The proposed scoping provision for elevators in V206.5 is discussed under Onboard Accessible Routes to Connect Passenger Decks.

Platform Lifts

The proposed scoping provision for platform lifts in V206.7 is discussed under Onboard Accessible Routes to Connect Passenger Decks.  In addition, platform lifts would be permitted to be a component of an onboard accessible route in alterations to existing passenger vessels.  Platform lifts also would be permitted to provide an onboard accessible route to wheelchair spaces in assembly areas; performance areas and speakers’ platforms; levels within passenger guest rooms with mobility features; tender boarding platforms; and play components within play areas or soft contained play structures.

Security Barriers

The proposed scoping provision in V206.8 would require security barriers to not obstruct onboard accessible routes or accessible means of escape.  Where security barriers incorporate screening devices such as metal detectors or fluoroscopes that cannot comply with the proposed provision, an exception is proposed that would permit the onboard accessible route to be located adjacent to the security barrier.  The onboard accessible route would have to permit passengers with disabilities to maintain visual contact with their personal items to the same extent provided to other passengers passing through the security barrier.

V207 Accessible Means of Escape

This section would require a passenger vessel to provide an accessible means of escape where the administrative authority requires the vessel to have a means of escape.  The section would require the accessible means of escape to provide a substantially equivalent level of protection from hazards as is required by the administrative authority for the means of escape.  An accessible means of escape would not be required in alterations to existing vessels.

We propose the following guidance for providing accessible means of escape.  Accessible means of escape should be independently usable by passengers with disabilities and should be made up of onboard accessible route components to the extent possible.  However, an accessible means of escape may include inaccessible components where passengers with disabilities would be assisted by crew members.  For example, a stairway or an exit only doorway with coamings may be part of an accessible means of escape.  If passengers with disabilities would have to wait for crew assistance at or near the stairway or doorway, the waiting area should be sufficiently protected from hazards in order to provide them a level of protection that is substantially equivalent to the level of protection afforded by the means of escape provided for passengers who can use stairs unassisted.  Similarly, elevators and platform lifts may require crew operation during emergencies.  If passengers with disabilities would have to wait at or near elevator or platform lift landings, the waiting area should afford them substantially equivalent protection.  Protected waiting areas would not be needed where another equivalent method of protection is provided, such as where passenger vessels are protected by automatic sprinkler systems or areas are open to the weather.

Protected waiting areas should be sized to accommodate clear deck spaces complying with the proposed technical provisions in V305 based on the occupant load of all accessible spaces to be served by the protected waiting area.  Protected waiting areas should be equipped with an audible and visible two-way communication system for summoning crew assistance.  Doors to protected waiting areas should be identified by a sign stating “Protected Waiting Area” that includes the International Symbol of Accessibility.  Signs should be provided in the protected waiting area that provide information on their use during emergencies and directions to other accessible means of escape.

V208 Passenger Vessel Boarding Systems

This section defers to DOT and DOJ to address when accessible passenger boarding systems would be required since passenger boarding systems can be provided at landside facilities and involve operational issues between the owner or operator of the landside facility and the passenger vessel owner or operator that DOT and DOJ are authorized to address.

Technical provisions for accessible passenger boarding systems are proposed in Chapter V 4, including walking surfaces with a running slope not steeper than 1:20 complying with the proposed technical provisions in V403; doors and doorways complying with the proposed technical provisions in V404; ramps complying with the proposed technical provisions in V405; elevators complying with the proposed technical provisions in V407; limited use-limited application elevators (LULA) complying with the proposed technical provisions in V408; platform lifts complying with the proposed technical provisions in V409; gangways complying with the proposed technical provisions in V410; and manually powered boarding lifts complying with the proposed technical provisions in V411.

V209 [Reserved]

Earlier drafts of the guidelines included a scoping provision for stairs in V209.  The proposed guidelines do not include a scoping provision for stairs.  The sections will be renumbered in the final guidelines.

V210 Rinsing Showers

This section would apply where rinsing showers are provided for passengers.  It does not require rinsing showers to be provided.  The section would require rinsing showers to comply with the proposed technical provisions for rinsing showers in V608, including clear deck space (V608.2.4); shower spray unit and water (V608.6); thresholds (V608.7); and enclosures not obstructing controls (V608.8).17  Where rinsing showers are clustered at a single location, the section would require at least one of the rinsing showers to comply with the proposed technical provisions for rinsing showers in V608.

V211 Drinking Fountains

This section would apply where drinking fountains are provided for passengers.  It does not require drinking fountains to be provided.  The section would require a minimum number (one or 50 percent of the total number) of drinking fountains provided on a deck to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V602 for clear deck space (V602.2); operable parts (V602.3); spout height and location (V602.4 and V602.5); and water flow (V602.6).  The section also would require a minimum number (one or 50 percent of the total number) of drinking fountains provided on a deck to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V602 for standing persons (V602.7).

Where drinking fountains are provided for passengers on decks that are not connected by an onboard accessible route to an entry deck, the section would require drinking fountains complying with the proposed technical provisions in V602 to be provided on an entry deck or on a deck connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route.  This would ensure that the two types of drinking fountain are available to passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs.

V212 Galleys, Pantries, and Sinks

This section would apply where galleys, pantries, and sinks are provided for passengers.  It does not require these features to be provided.  The section would require galleys and pantries to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V804 for clearance (V804.2); sinks (V804.3); storage (V804.4); and appliances (V804.5).  Where sinks are provided, the section would require at least 5 percent, but no fewer than one, of each type of sink provided in an accessible room or space to comply with proposed technical provisions in V606, including clear deck space (V606.2); height (V606.3); faucets (V606.4); and exposed pipes and surfaces (V606.5).  Mop or service sinks would not be required to comply with this section.

V213 Toilet Facilities and Bathing Facilities

This section would apply where toilet facilities and bathing facilities are provided for passengers.  It does not require these facilities to be provided.  The section would require each toilet room and bathing room to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603, including clearances (V603.2); mirrors (V603.3); and coat hooks and shelves (V603.4).18

Five exceptions are proposed.  Exception 1 would apply to alterations of existing passenger vessels.  Where it is technically infeasible to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603, existing toilet rooms and bathing rooms would be required to comply to the maximum extent feasible, or to provide an unisex toilet room or bathing room complying with the proposed technical provisions in V603 in the same area and on the same deck as the existing non-complying toilet room or bathing room.

Exception 2 would apply to alterations to qualified historic passenger vessels and would require no fewer than one toilet room for each sex or one unisex toilet room complying with the proposed technical provisions in V603 to be provided on the vessel where the State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that compliance with the proposed provisions for toilet rooms would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a qualified historic passenger vessel.

Exception 3 would apply where multiple single user portable toilet or bathing units are clustered at a single location.  At least 5 percent of the toilet units and bathing units at each cluster would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603.

Exception 4 would apply where multiple single user toilet rooms are clustered at a single location.  At least 50 percent of the of the single user toilet rooms for each use at each cluster would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603.

Exception 5 would apply to high-speed passenger vessels that do not transport overnight passengers.  Where multiple single user toilet rooms are clustered at a single location on such vessels, at least 5 percent of the single user toilet rooms for each use at each cluster would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603.  This exception would reduce compliance costs for high-speed passenger vessels where weight and vessel size have a significant impact on the vessel’s fuel consumption.

We request comment on the proposed exceptions.

Question 15.  Should additional exceptions be provided for toilet rooms?  Comments should explain the basis for recommending additional exceptions.

Where toilet rooms are provided for passengers on decks that are not connected by an onboard accessible route to an entry deck, the section would require at least one toilet room for each sex or one unisex toilet room complying with the proposed technical provisions in V603 to be provided on an entry deck or on a deck connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route.  This would ensure that a toilet room is available to passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs.

The section would require unisex toilet rooms to contain one lavatory and either one water closet or one water closet and one urinal; and unisex bathing rooms to contain one lavatory, one water closet, and either one shower or one bathtub.  Doors to unisex toilet rooms and unisex bathing rooms would be required to have privacy latches.

The section would require plumbing fixtures and accessories provided in toilet rooms and bathing rooms complying with V603 to comply with the following proposed technical provisions:

  • At least one toilet compartment (stall) would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for wheelchair accessible compartments in V604.8.1.  Where six or more toilet compartments are provided, or where the combination of urinals and water closets totals six or more fixtures, at least one toilet compartment would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for ambulatory accessible compartments in V604.8.2.  The ambulatory accessible compartment would be in addition to the wheelchair accessible compartment.
  • At least one water closet would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for water closets in V604.
  • Where more than one urinal is provided, at least one urinal would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for urinals in V605.
  • At least one lavatory would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for lavatories in V606 and would not be allowed to be located in a toilet compartment.
  • At least one mirror would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for mirrors in V603.3.
  • At least one bathtub would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for bathtubs in V607, or at least one shower would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for showers in V608.
  • At least one of each type of coat hook and shelf would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for coat hooks and shelves in V603.4.
V214 Washing Machines and Clothes Dryers

This section would apply where washing machines and clothes dryers are provided for passenger use.  Where three or fewer washing machines and three or fewer clothes dryers are provided, at least one washing machine and one clothes dryer would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V611, including clear deck space (V611.2); operable parts (V611.3); and height (V611.4).  Where more than three washing machines and more than three clothes dryers are provided, at least two washing machines and two clothes dryers would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V611.

V215 Emergency Alarms

This section would apply where a general alarm system is provided to notify passengers in public areas of emergencies.  The Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee recommended that general emergency alarm systems include visible elements to alert passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss.  This section would require general emergency alarm systems on U.S. flag vessels to provide visible notification appliances complying with the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code.  The International Maritime Organization approved non-mandatory guidelines for including visible elements in general emergency alarm systems in 201219.  For the final guidelines, we are considering requiring general emergency alarm systems on foreign flag vessels that operate in U.S. ports to provide visible notification appliances in public areas and to reference the International Maritime Organization guidelines.  We request comment on this proposal.

Question 16.  What additional costs would be associated with providing visible notification appliances in public areas as part of the general emergency alarm systems on foreign flag vessels that operate in U.S. ports?

Two exceptions are proposed.  Exception 1 would not require elevators, enclosed platform lifts, enclosed stairways, and areas only open to passengers in emergencies to comply with the section.  Exception 2 would not require alterations to existing passenger vessels to comply with the section.

Question 17.  Are visible notification appliances effective in open deck areas such as sun decks and partially covered deck areas for alerting passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss of an emergency?  If not, what alternative systems or devices can be used in these areas to alert passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss of an emergency?

V216 Signs

This section would apply to signs that identify permanent rooms and spaces (V216.2); directional and informational signs (V216.3); signs for means of escape (V216.4); signs identifying accessible exterior doors where all exterior doors are not accessible (V216.5); signs identifying accessible elevators where all elevators are not accessible in alterations to existing passenger vessels (V216.6); signs identifying toilet rooms and bathrooms (V216.7); signs for TTYs and wheelchair accessible telephones (V216.8 and V216.9); signs for assistive listening systems (V216.10); and signs for accessible check-out counters (V216.11).  The section would require signs to identify, and in some cases provide direction to, these elements and spaces.  The section would require the signs to comply with the proposed technical provisions for visual characters in V703.5.  The section also would require certain signs to comply with the proposed technical provisions for raised letters in V703.2; Braille in V703.3; and installation height and location in V703.4.

Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines recommended that signs indicating the availability of assistive listening systems include information about the system.  The section would require signs indicating the availability of assistive listening systems to also indicate the type of transmitter and receiver used.  Where passenger vessels have a central passenger service station to distribute receivers for assistive listening systems and other effective methods are used to notify passengers about the availability, location, and type of transmitter and receiver used, signs would not be required for assistive listening systems.

The section would require directional signs indicating the location of the nearest accessible means of escape to be provided at all exit doors, platform lifts, and elevators that serve accessible spaces but are not part of an accessible means of escape.  An exception is proposed that would not require directional signs where platform lifts and elevators are directly accessed from protected stairway landings.  Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines noted that these directional signs, which are intended for passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs, may be confusing for other passengers in emergencies since the accessible means of escape for passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs may differ from the means of escape for other passengers.  For instance, the signs may direct passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs to crew-operated elevators or platform lifts that are not intended for use by other passengers.

Question 18.  Are there other effective ways to provide information about the location of escape paths to passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs and other passengers in a way that would minimize any potential for confusion as to which escape path to use?

V217 Telephones

Where a public telephone is provided on a deck, this section would require at least one wheelchair accessible public telephone complying with the proposed technical provisions in V704.2; and at least one public TTY complying with the proposed technical provisions in V704.4 to be provided on the deck.  The section also would require all public telephones to have volume controls complying with the proposed technical provisions in V704.3, and to be hearing aid compatible.

V218 Two-Way Communication Systems

Where a two-way communication system is used to gain admittance to a passenger vessel or to restricted areas within the vessel that are open to passengers, this section would require the system to provide both audible and visible signals.  The section would not apply to areas intended for use only by employees since employees areas would be covered by the proposed exception in V203.2.

V219 Assistive Listening Systems

Where an audio amplification system is provided in an assembly area or transportation seating area to communicate information that is integral to the use of the areas, this section would require an assistive listening system to be provided.  An assistive listening system would be defined in V106.5 as an amplification system utilizing transmitters, receivers, and coupling devices to bypass the acoustical space between a sound source and a listener by means of induction loop, radio frequency modulation (FM), or infrared equipment.

Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines recommended that assistive listening systems be provided in rooms and spaces that do not have audio amplification systems.  Portable assistive listening systems can be used in rooms and spaces that do not have audio amplification systems.  The proposed guidelines do not address portable equipment.  However, portable assistive listening systems may be used to meet the requirements in the DOJ and DOT regulations on use of auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication.  See 28 CFR 35.160 and 36.303, and 49 CFR 39.51 and 39.89.

The section does not specify the type of assistive listening system to be provided.  Comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines noted the benefits of induction loop systems over FM and infrared systems.  Individuals who wear hearing aids equipped with telecoils do not need a separate receiver with an induction loop system.20  Where induction loop systems are provided, individuals who do not use hearing aids and individuals who use hearing aids not equipped with telecoils would need a receiver.  A receiver is also needed with FM and infrared systems.

The section would require a minimum number of receivers to be provided for assistive listening systems in accordance with Table V219.3.  The table would reduce the number of receivers as the total seating capacity of the assembly areas and transportation seating areas on the passenger vessel increases.  For example, the table would require assembly areas and transportation seating areas with:

  • 500 seats to provide a minimum of 20 receivers (4%);
  • 1,000 seats to provide a minimum of 36 receivers (3.6%); and
  • 2,000 seats to provide a minimum of 55 receivers (2.75%).

A proposed exception would permit the number of receivers to be based on the maximum number of passengers that the passenger vessel is permitted to carry.

At least 25 percent, but no fewer than two, of the receivers would be required to be hearing aid compatible (e.g., neck loops that interface with telecoils in hearing aids).  Because induction loop systems are compatible with hearing aids equipped with telecoils, a proposed exception would reduce the minimum number of receivers by the number that would be required to be hearing aid compatible where induction loop systems are provided.  For example, an assembly area with 500 seats would be required to provide a minimum of 20 receivers, and at least 5 of these receivers would be required to be hearing aid compatible.  If an induction loop system is provided, the proposed exception would require a minimum of 15, instead of 20, receivers since the induction loop system is compatible with hearing aids equipped with telecoils.

There are several national surveys that measure hearing loss.  The surveys vary in question wording and what they measure.  Consequently, the data vary.  The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau asks questions about hearing aid use; difficulty hearing a normal conversation (even with a hearing aid); and deafness (unable to hear).  The SIPP data show among persons aged 15 and older 7.6 million (3.1%) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 5.6 million (2.3%) used a hearing aid and 1.1 million (0.5%) were deaf.21  The National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys (NHANES) sponsored by National Center for Health Statistics asks questions about hearing trouble (no trouble, a little, a lot, deaf) and includes audiometric testing of participants.  The NHANES data show among persons aged 12 and older 30 million (12.7%) had bilateral hearing loss and the number increases to 48.1 million (20.3%) when unilateral hearing loss is included.22

Where an audio amplification system is provided in public areas to communicate emergency information to passengers, such as passenger safety briefings and instructions on evacuation procedures, the section would require an assistive listening system to be provided.  The Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee recommended this proposed provision.  We tested a portable FM system on a four passenger deck steel ferry that was 310 feet long, and found that all interior and exterior passenger spaces on the vessel received the FM signal.  Where passengers are assigned to go to specific muster stations in an emergency when the general emergency alarm is activated, an assistive listening system would not be required.

Question 19.  Is an induction loop system effective on passenger vessels that have structural metal in the decks and bulkheads (walls) that may interfere with the signal?

Where audio amplification systems provide emergency information, passengers who have a hearing loss need information about the availability of the assistive listening system and where to obtain receivers in order to use the system.

Question 20.  How should information be provided to passengers who have a hearing loss about the availability of the assistive listening system for safety briefings, instructions on evacuation procedures, and other emergency announcements?  If signs are provided, what information should be provided on the signs and where should the signs be placed?

The Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee also recommended that other methods should be used to effectively communicate emergency and non-emergency information to passengers who are deaf.

Question 21.  Would visual displays on passenger vessels provide an effective method for communicating emergency and non-emergency information to passengers who are deaf?  If visual displays are provided for communicating emergency and non-emergency information to passengers, are assistive listening systems needed for such information?  What passenger areas should provide the visual displays and where should they be placed within each area?  Have visual displays been installed on passenger vessels for communicating emergency and non-emergency information?  What costs would be associated with providing the visual displays?

Question 22.  Do passenger vessels have the capability to communicate emergency and non-emergency information such as arrival and departure time to passengers through their personal communications devices (e.g., send text messages to passengers’ smartphones when they subscribe to receive such information)?  Can such information be provided to passengers through their personal communications devices when passenger vessels are beyond the range of cellular phone towers?  What costs would be associated with passenger vessels providing such information to passengers through their personal communications devices?

V220 Automatic Teller Machines and Fare Machines

Where automatic teller machines and fare machines are provided on passenger vessels, this section would require at least one of each type of machine provided at each location to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V707, including clear deck space (V707.2); operable parts (V707.3); privacy (V707.4); speech output (V707.5); input (V707.6); display screen (V707.7); and Braille instructions (V707.8).

V221 Assembly Areas

An assembly area would be defined in V106.5 as a portion of a passenger vessel that is used for entertainment, educational gatherings, or similar purposes.  This section would require a minimum number of wheelchair spaces to be provided in assembly areas with fixed seats in accordance with Table V221.2.1.1.  The table would reduce the number of wheelchair spaces as the total seating capacity of the assembly area increases.  For example, the table would require assembly areas with:

  • 300 seats to provide a minimum of 5 wheelchair spaces (1.6%);
  • 500 seats to provide a minimum of 6 wheelchair spaces (1.2%); and
  • 1,000 seats to provide a minimum of 10 wheelchair spaces (1%).

The Survey of Income and Program Participation sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau show among persons aged 15 and older 3.6 million (1.5%) used a wheelchair or scooter.23

The section would require the wheelchair spaces to be an integral part of the fixed seating plan.  The section includes proposed scoping and technical provisions for dispersion of wheelchair spaces where seats are arranged to provide lines of sight to fixed screens or performance areas to ensure that passengers who use wheelchairs have an equivalent choices of seating locations and viewing angles (V221.2.3 and V802.2).  The section also includes proposed scoping and technical provisions for dispersion of wheelchair spaces where seats are not arranged to provide lines of sight to fixed screens or performance areas (V221.2.4).

The cruise industry expressed concerns about the vertical dispersion of wheelchair spaces in assembly spaces in comments on earlier drafts of the guidelines.  Construction constraints specific to cruise ships can limit the number of onboard accessible route connections between decks and seating sections in theaters on large cruise ships.  We reviewed the designs of theaters on several large cruise ships.  Based on the theater designs, it appears that the vertical dispersion can be achieved with minimal loss of seats where onboard accessible route connections are provided between more than one deck and the seating sections in the theaters.  The wheelchair spaces also would have to meet the provisions for horizontal dispersion and substantially equivalent viewing angles.  Some of the theater designs had columns and equipment overhangs that could obstruct viewing angles and can be addressed by careful layout of wheelchair spaces when designing the theaters.  We request comment on the proposed provisions for dispersion and fixed lines of sight.

The section also would require a companion seat for each wheelchair space, and a minimum number of designated aisle seats located closest to onboard accessible routes.  The technical provisions for companion seats in V802.3 would require companion seats to provide shoulder alignment with the adjacent wheelchair spaces, except where the seating is not arranged to provide lines of sight to fixed screens or performance areas and where seating is provided at tables and counters.  The technical provisions for designated aisle seats in V802.4 would require the seats to provide folding or retractable armrests, where armrests are provided on seating in the immediate area, and to be identified by a sign or marker.

V222 Transportation Seating Areas

A transportation seating area would be defined in V106.5 as an area, other than an assembly area, where fixed seats are provided for passengers.  This section would require a minimum number of wheelchair spaces in transportation seating areas in accordance with Table V222.3.  The table would reduce the number of wheelchair spaces as the total seating capacity of the transportation seating increases.  For example, the table would require transportation seating areas with:

  • 100 seats to provide a minimum of 2 wheelchair spaces (2%);
  • 300 seats to provide a minimum of 5 wheelchair spaces (1.6%); and
  • 650 seats to provide a minimum of 7 wheelchair spaces (1%).

The Survey of Income and Program Participation sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau show among persons aged 15 and older 3.6 million (1.5%) used a wheelchair or scooter.24

An exception is proposed for passenger vessels that provide more fixed seats in transportation seating areas than the vessel is permitted to carry.  The proposed exception would permit the number of wheelchair spaces to be based on the maximum number of passengers that the passenger vessel is permitted to carry.

The section would require the wheelchair spaces to be an integral part of and dispersed throughout the fixed seating plan.  Companion seats would not be required in transportation seating areas.

Where transportation seating areas are provided on decks that are not connected by an onboard accessible route to an entry deck, the section would require at least one transportation seating area to be provided on an entry deck or on a deck connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route.  This would ensure that transportation seating is available to passengers with disabilities who cannot use stairs.  Vehicle ferries that are eligible to use the exceptions for onboard accessible routes to connect decks would need to provide a platform lift or elevator to connect to decks where the entry deck is used for vehicles only and a transportation seating area is provided only on another deck.

V223 Medical Care Facilities

This section would apply where passenger ships have medical facilities with patient sleeping rooms.  The section would require at least 10 percent of the patient sleeping rooms to provide mobility features complying with the proposed technical provisions in V805, including turning space (V805.2); clear deck space (V805.3); and toilet and bathing rooms (V805.4).

V224 Passenger Guest Rooms

This section would apply to cruise ships and other passenger vessels that transport passengers overnight and provide passenger guest rooms.  Some passenger vessels such as ferries or excursion vessels may provide guest rooms that can be reserved by passengers for day use.  We will define passenger guest rooms in the final guidelines and are considering defining the term to include rooms used by passengers for overnight accommodations or for day use.  If the final guidelines define passenger guest rooms to include rooms for day use, a minimum number of the rooms would need to provide mobility features and communication features in accordance with the proposed scoping provisions discussed below and would need to be located on an entry deck or on a deck that is connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route.

Question 23.  How many passenger vessels provide guest rooms that can be reserved by passengers for day use?  How many of these guest rooms are provided on the passenger vessel?  Are any of these guest rooms provided on an entry deck or a deck that is connected to an entry deck by an onboard accessible route?  What features are provided in these guest rooms to which the proposed guidelines would apply?  We are interested in information for estimating the costs and benefits of applying the proposed guidelines to these guest rooms?

V224.2 Guest Rooms with Mobility Features

This section would require passenger vessels to provide a minimum number of guest rooms with mobility features based on the total number of guest rooms in accordance with Table V224.2.  For instance, a passenger vessel with 501 to 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 3 percent of guest rooms with mobility features.  A passenger vessel with more than 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 30 guest rooms with mobility features for the first 1,000 guest rooms (3%), plus 2 guest rooms with mobility features for each additional 100 guest rooms or fraction thereof over 1,000 (2%).  The section would require a portion of the guest rooms with mobility features to provide a roll-in shower.  The section would also require guest rooms with mobility features to be dispersed among the various classes of guest rooms.  The minimum number of guest rooms with mobility features that would be required on passenger vessels is consistent with the guidelines for landside facilities such as hotels and resorts.  We request comment on this proposed scoping provision.

Guest rooms with mobility features are typically larger than other guest rooms to accommodate passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters.  The proposed technical provisions for guest rooms with mobility features would require wider doorways; turning space within the guest room; clear deck space on both sides of a bed or between two beds and at the closet; turning space within the bathroom and clear deck space at the bathtub or shower, lavatory or sink, and toilet (the turning space and clear deck spaces can overlap); and grab bars at the toilet and at the bathtub or shower.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau has asked questions about use of mobility devices, including wheelchairs, scooters, canes, crutches, and walkers, by persons aged 15 and older since 1990.  The SIPP provides stability in measuring disability over a long period with a large sample that is representative of the U.S. population.  We had a report prepared that converted the SIPP data on individuals who used mobility devices to households that have a member who used a mobility device because families typically go on cruises for vacation and leisure travel.25  This report is referred to as the household report.

The household report shows households with a member who used a wheelchair or scooter doubled from 1.5 percent in 1990 to 3 percent in 2010.  If past trends continue, a linear extrapolation to 2025 projects about 4 percent of households will have a member who uses a wheelchair or scooter.  We assume households with a member who uses a wheelchair or scooter would need a guest room with mobility features.

The household report also shows households with a member who used a cane, crutches, or walker grew from 4.5 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2010.  If past trends continue, a linear extrapolation to 2025 projects about 9 percent of households will have a member who uses a cane, crutches, or walker.  Households with a member who uses a cane, crutches, or walker may rent a wheelchair or scooter for distance travel on a cruise ship and for shore excursions.26  We assume these households may need a guest room with mobility features.  We assume households with a member who uses a cane, crutches, or walker may also need features such as grab bars at toilets and at bathtubs or showers that are provided in guest rooms with mobility features, regardless of whether they rent a wheelchair or scooter for distance travel on a cruise ship and for shore excursions.

The cruise industry submitted a report indicating that about 70 percent of the passengers who used wheelchairs or scooters on 45 cruise ships in 2005 did not occupy a guest room with mobility features.27  The report suggested that these passengers may have used wheelchairs or scooters for distance travel on the cruise ships and for shore excursions, and may not have needed a guest room with mobility features.  The entry doorway to guest rooms is typically 22 to 24 inches wide and is too narrow for a wheelchair or scooter to pass through.28  The proposed guidelines would require 32 inches minimum clear opening at the entry doorway to guest rooms with mobility features.  The report did not consider other possible reasons why a significant percent of passengers who used wheelchairs or scooters did not occupy a guest room with mobility features.  Passengers who do not have a disability may have reserved guest rooms with mobility features because they are larger than other guest rooms resulting in the rooms not being available to passengers with disabilities.  Some cruise lines had a practice of requesting passengers with disabilities to provide a doctor’s note to reserve a guest room with mobility features.  This practice may have discouraged passengers with disabilities from reserving guest rooms with mobility features.  DOT issued regulations in 2010 that require cruise lines to hold guest rooms with mobility features for passengers with disabilities until all other rooms in the same class are sold, and ban the practice of requesting passengers with disabilities to provide a doctor’s note to reserve a guest room with mobility features.  See 49 CFR 39.39 (b) (2) and (f).

Question 24.  How often are individuals with mobility disabilities or households with a member who has a mobility disability who request a guest room with mobility features unable to reserve the type of guest room (e.g., interior, oceanview, balcony, suite) they request, but the same type of guest rooms without mobility features are available?

The cruise industry is concerned about the loss of guest rooms and revenue due to the proposed scoping provision for guest rooms with mobility features.  According to the cruise industry, two guest rooms with mobility features occupy the same square footage as three guest rooms resulting in the loss of one guest room for every two guest rooms with mobility features.  We estimate the loss of guest rooms and revenue for large cruise ships permitted to carry 300 or more passengers in Chapter 3 of the regulatory assessment.  We estimate the 113 large cruise ships operating in U.S. ports as of 2011 contained 123,516 guest rooms, including 2,392 guest rooms with mobility features (1.9% of the total number of guest rooms).  We assume 5 percent of the guest rooms in the cruise fleet are replaced annually and the total number of guest rooms increases by 3 percent annually.  Based on these assumptions, we estimate 786 guest rooms would be lost over 20 years under the proposed scoping provision against the baseline of the cruise industry practice in the absence of the guidelines.  According to the cruise industry, each guest room produced $140,000 gross revenue in 2005.  Adjusting this figure for inflation to $161,250 in 2011 dollars, we estimate the gross revenue loss annualized over 20 years is $50 million discounted at 7 percent, and $58 million discounted at 3 percent.  We note, however, that gross revenue loss overstates the cost.  The correct measure for estimating the cost of lost guest rooms is net revenue, which is gross revenue less the costs to serve the passengers who would occupy the guest rooms.

Question 25.  For cruise ships operating in U.S. ports, is it reasonable to assume that 5 percent of the guest rooms in the cruise fleet are replaced annually and the total number of guest rooms increases by 3 percent annually?  Comments should include information to support alternative assumptions.

Question 26.  Is there other information available to improve our cost estimates?  We are particularly interested in information on net revenue per guest room, which accounts for the costs to serve the passengers who occupy the guest rooms.

Cruise lines construct classes of cruise ships or sister vessels based on the same design without major modification.  Each new class of cruise ships is generally larger than the previous class.  As shown in Appendix II to the regulatory assessment, cruise ships constructed in 2010 and 2011 have over 50 percent more guest rooms than cruise ships constructed in the 1990’s.  Cruise lines can mitigate the loss of revenue due to providing guest rooms with mobility features by increasing the number of guest rooms when designing new classes of cruise ships.

Question 27.  How will cruise lines comply with the proposed scoping provision for guest rooms with mobility features?  Will cruise lines construct larger cruise ships than they would have in the absence of the proposed guidelines so they do not lose guest rooms or space for other purposes; will cruise lines choose to reduce guest rooms or space used for other purposes; or will cruise lines do a combination of these choices or something else?

Question 28.  Is there information available on the percent of the population with mobility disabilities that takes cruises compared to the percent of the population without mobility disabilities?

As noted above, households with a member who used a cane, crutches, or walker grew from 4.5 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2010, and a linear extrapolation to 2025 projects about 9 percent of households will have a member who uses a cane, crutches, or walker.  These households may rent a wheelchair or scooter for distance travel on cruise ships and for shore excursions, and may need guest rooms with wider doorways and space to store the wheelchair or scooter.  Regardless of whether these households rent a wheelchair or scooter, the household member who uses a mobility device may need grab bars in the bathroom for stability and support.

Question 29.  Would it be practical operationally to provide two types of guest rooms with mobility features: (1) one for passengers with mobility disabilities who use a wheelchair or scooter for distance travel only and not in guest rooms; and (2) the other for passengers with mobility disabilities who use a wheelchair or scooter in guest rooms?  What specific features would be needed in guest rooms used by passengers with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs or scooters for distance travel only and not in guest rooms?  Would providing two types of guest of guest rooms with mobility features reduce the loss of guest rooms and revenue?

V224.4 Guest Rooms with Communication Features

This section would require passenger vessels to provide a minimum number of guest rooms with communication features based on the total number of guest rooms in accordance with Table V224.4.  For instance, a passenger vessel with 501 to 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 5 percent of guest rooms with communication features.  A passenger vessel with more than 1,000 guest rooms would be required to provide a minimum of 50 of guest rooms with communication features for the first 1,000 guest rooms (5%), plus 3 guest rooms with mobility features for each additional 100 guest rooms over 1,000 (3%).  The section would require guest rooms with communication features to be dispersed among the various classes of guest rooms.  The minimum number of guest rooms with communication features that would be required on passenger vessels is consistent with the guidelines for landside facilities such as hotels and resorts.  We request comment on this proposed scoping provision.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau asks questions about hearing aid use; difficulty hearing what is said in a normal conversation (even when wearing a hearing aid); and deafness (unable to hear) for persons aged 6 and older.  We had a report prepared that converted the SIPP data on individuals who had hearing impairments to households that have a member who had a hearing impairment because families typically go on cruises for vacation and leisure travel.29  This report is referred to as the household report.

The household report shows about 9 percent of households in 2010 had a member with a hearing impairment (i.e., had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, used a hearing aid, or was deaf).  The percent of households that had a member who used a hearing aid or was deaf is about 5 percent.

The SIPP reports fewer individuals with hearing impairments compared to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES).  NHANES asks questions about hearing trouble (no trouble, a little, a lot, deaf) and includes audiometric testing of participants.  NHANES data for persons aged 12 and older show 30 million (12.7%) had a bilateral hearing loss and the number increases to 48.1 million (20.3%) when unilateral hearing loss is included.30  SIPP data for persons aged 15 and older show 7.6 million (3.1%) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 5.6 million (2.3%) used a hearing aid and 1.1 million (0.5%) were deaf.31

Guest rooms with communication features would be required to provide visible notification appliances in the room to alert and awaken passengers who are deaf or who have a hearing loss of general emergency alarms and guest room smoke detector alarms.  For U.S. flag vessels, the visible notification appliances would be required to comply with the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code.  For foreign flag vessels that operate in U.S. ports, we are considering referencing the International Maritime Organization guidelines in the final guidelines.32

Question 30.  What additional costs would be associated with providing visible notification appliances in guest rooms with communication features on foreign flag vessels that operate in U.S. ports?

Guest rooms with communication features also would be required to provide visible devices to alert room occupants of incoming telephone calls and a door knock or bell, and telephones in the rooms would be required to have volume controls and an electrical outlet within 48 inches of the telephone to facilitate use of a TTY.

The Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee recommended that portable devices be permitted in guest rooms and that the Cruise Lines International Association develop guidelines to ensure that portable devices would be effective and reliable in alerting and awakening passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss when general emergency alarms and guest room smoke detector alarms are activated.  The Cruise Lines International Association convened a group to develop guidelines for portable devices but, after the group met, it concluded that it did not have the expertise for the task.  In the absence of guidelines that ensure portable devices would be effective and reliable in alerting and awakening passengers who are deaf or have a hearing loss when general emergency alarms and guest room smoke detector alarms are activated, we did not consider portable devices.

V225 Storage

This section would require at least one of each type of storage in accessible spaces to comply with the proposed technical provisions for storage in V807, including clear deck space (V807.2); height (V807.3); and operable parts (V807.4).

V226 Tables and Counters

This section would require at least 5 percent of the seating or standing spaces at tables or counters provided for passenger use in areas other than assembly areas and transportation seating areas to comply with the proposed technical provisions for tables and counters in V902, including clear deck space (V902.2) and height (V902.3).  The section would require the accessible tables or counters to be dispersed throughout the area where the tables and counters are provided.

V227 Sales and Service

This section would apply to check-out aisles, sales and service counters, food service lines, and queues and waiting lines.  The section would require a minimum number of check out aisles to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V904.3, including walking surfaces (V904.3.1); counter height (V904.3.2); and check writing surfaces (V904.3.3).  For instance, where 1 to 4 check out aisles are provided, at least one would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V904.3.

The section would require at least one of each type of sales counter and service counter to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V904.4, which would specify dimensions for an accessible portion of the counter and would require a clear deck space for a parallel approach or forward approach to the accessible portion of the counter.  An exception is proposed for sales counters and service counters on smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet and the employee side of the counter is 80 inches or less in linear length.

The section would require food service lines to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V904.5, which would require self-service shelves and dispensing devices to be within the proposed technical provisions for reach ranges in V308 and would specify dimensions for the height of tray slides.

The section would require queues and waiting lines that serve check-out aisles or sales counters and service counters that meet the proposed technical provisions in V904.3 or V904.4 to comply with the proposed technical provisions for walking surfaces in V403.

V228 Depositories, Vending Machines, Change Machines, and Mail Boxes

This section would require at least one of each type of depository, vending machine, and change machine to comply with the proposed technical provisions for operable parts in V309, including clear deck space (V309.2); height (V309.3); and operation (V309.4).

Where mail boxes are provided in an interior location for passenger use, the section would require at least 5 percent, but no fewer than one, of each type to comply with the proposed technical provisions for operable parts in V309 described above.

V229 Dressing, Fitting, and Locker Rooms

This section would require at least 5 percent, but no fewer than one, of each type of dressing, fitting, and locker rooms provided in each cluster for passenger use to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V803, including turning space (V803.2); door swing (V803.3); benches (V804.3); and coat hooks and shelves (V803.5).

V230 through V237 Recreational Facilities

These sections would apply where the following recreation facilities are provided on passenger vessels: exercise machines and equipment (V230); miniature golf facilities (V231); play areas (V232); saunas and steam rooms (V233); swimming pools, wading pools, and spas (V234); shooting facilities (V235); gaming and arcade machines (V236); and post-mounted binoculars (V237).  The sections would require a minimum number of these facilities to comply with the proposed technical provisions for the facilities.

Earlier drafts of the guidelines considered requiring sloped entries to pools as an alternative to pool lifts.  The cruise industry noted that sloped entries to pools are not provided on cruise ships due to the space constraints.  The proposed guidelines do not require sloped entries to pools.  The proposed guidelines would allow sloped entries or transfer systems as an accessible means of entry to wading pools.  The proposed guidelines would require at least one pool lift to be provided for each swimming pool.  Where more than one swimming pool is provided in a cluster, an exception is proposed that would require at least one of each type of pool to provide a pool lift and the other pools to provide transfer walls, transfer systems, or pools stairs complying with the applicable proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 10.

Service Animal Relief Areas

Individuals with disabilities who use service animals have reported traveling difficulties due to the absence of service animal relief areas on passenger vessels.  We are considering requiring service animal relief areas on passenger vessels in the final guidelines

Question 31.  Are service animal relief areas currently provided on passenger vessels?  What criteria should be used to determine when service animal relief areas are needed?  For instance, should need for service animal relief areas be based on the length of trip or total travel time?  How many service animal relief areas should be provided on passenger vessels?  Should the number vary based on the size of passenger vessel?  Where should service animal relief areas be located on passenger vessels?  What should be the design criteria for service animal relief areas?  What costs are associated with providing service animal relief areas?

Chapter V 3.  Building Blocks

Chapter V 3 contains proposed technical provisions that form the building blocks for accessible features.  They are referenced in proposed scoping provisions in Chapter V 2 and in proposed technical provisions in Chapters V 4 through V 11.  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 3 include deck surfaces (V302); changes in level (V303); turning space (V304); clear deck space (V305); knee and toe clearance (V306); protruding objects (V307); reach ranges (V308); and operable parts (V309).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 3 are the same as those for landside facilities except as noted below.

A proposed exception would not require openings and changes in level in deck surfaces for vehicle tie-downs on ferries that are flush with the deck surface and are not located within an onboard accessible route to comply with the proposed technical provisions for openings and changes in level.  Another proposed exception would permit larger openings for drains that are not located within an onboard accessible route where the administrative authority determines that larger openings are needed for deck drainage.

V307 Protruding Objects

Where doors are required by the administrative authority to have coamings, an exception is proposed that would permit the vertical clearance at the door to be measured from the finish deck surface adjacent to the coamings and not the top of the coamings.

A comment on earlier drafts of the guidelines noted that U.S. Coast Guard regulations permit vertical clearances to be 74 inches on circulation paths and that the proposed technical provisions for protruding objects would require 80 inches minimum vertical clearance, which would affect deck height and may create stability problems.  The ferry case studies found that there were no stability problems due to this proposed technical provision.

Chapter V 4:  Onboard Accessible Routes and Accessible Passenger Boarding Systems

Chapter V 4 contains proposed technical provisions for the components of onboard accessible routes and accessible passenger boarding systems, including walking surfaces with running slopes less than 1:20 (V403); doors, doorways, and gates (V404); ramps (V405); curb ramps (V406); elevators (V407); limited use-limited application elevators (V408); and platform lifts (V409).  In addition, Chapter V 4 contains proposed technical provisions for components that are specific to accessible passenger boarding systems, including gangways (V410) and manually powered boarding lifts (V411).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 4 are the same as those for landside facilities except as noted below.

V403 Walking Surfaces

Walking surfaces on vehicle decks would be permitted to overlap vehicle ways.  For smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet, proposed exceptions would permit the clear width of the walking surface to be 32 inches wide minimum instead of 36 inches wide minimum and would permit fold-down seats to project into walking surface clearances when the seats are in the down position.  The proposed exceptions would reduce the impact on smaller passenger vessels such as ferries permitted to carry 150 or fewer passengers.

V404 Doors, Doorways, and Gates

Exceptions are proposed for doors and gates intended to be operated only by employees, and for doors and gates at entry and departure points.

V404.2.5 Thresholds and Coamings

U.S. Coast Guard regulations and international conventions require certain doors on passenger vessels to have raised thresholds known as coamings that are three or more inches in height to provide a watertight barrier at the base of the doors.  Coamings are essential to vessel stability and safety, but present barriers to accessibility.  This section contains proposed technical provisions for thresholds provided at doorways without coamings, and for single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors at doorways with coamings.

An exception is proposed that would permit a ¾ inch high maximum non-beveled threshold on the sealing side of weathertight doors where required by the administrative authority to meet weathertight door sealing requirements provided that the thresholds contrast visually with adjacent deck surfaces.  This exception can be used at doorways without coamings, and doorways with coamings where single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors are provided.  Before using this exception at doorways with coamings where single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors are provided, alternatives should be explored with the administrative authority such as installing drainage systems where weathertight doors seal against the top of ramp surfaces.

V404.2.5.1 Doorways without Coamings

This section would require thresholds at doorways without coamings to be ½ inch high maximum with a beveled edge on each side.  An exception is proposed that would permit existing or altered thresholds to be ¾ inch high maximum with a beveled edge on each side.

V404.2.5.2 Doorways with Coamings

This section would require doorways with coamings to conform to the minimum coaming height determined by the administrative authority.

Question 32.  Do passenger vessels exceed the minimum coaming height determined by the administrative authority?  If so, comments should provide information explaining conditions where the minimum coaming height is exceeded.

The Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee recommended that single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors be provided at doorways with coamings.  We sponsored a research project by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to examine potential access solutions to doorways with coamings.33  A working group organized by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Passenger Vessel Association reviewed the research project report.  The proposed technical provisions for doorways with coamings considered in the earlier drafts of the guidelines are revised based on the research project report, case studies, and input from the U.S. Coast Guard and Passenger Vessel Association working group.

For single ramp access, this section would require a ramp on the side of the doorway to be protected from water infiltration. Changes in level would not be permitted within the maneuvering clearances specified on the other side of the door.

For double ramp access, this section would require ramps on each side of the doorway and automatic doors at the doorway.  A exception is proposed that would not require automatic doors where the doors are intended to be operated only by employees.

For both single ramp access and double ramp access, this section would require the ramp width to be equal to or greater than the width of the maneuvering clearances specified on the side of the doorway where the ramp is provided An exception is proposed that would not require landings at the top of ramps provided at doorways with coamings.

For smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet, exceptions are proposed that would permit doorways with coamings that provide single ramp access to have steeper running slopes on ramp runs and the maneuvering clearances on the side of the doorway without a ramp to be 48 inches minimum in depth.

An exception is proposed that would not require single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors where the administrative authority permits coamings to be removable; the doors are intended to be operated only by employees; the coamings are readily removable by the employees; and the weather deck areas accessed by the doors are not open to passengers when the vessel is underway except in emergencies.

Where the administrative authority determines that it is not feasible to provide single ramp access or double ramp access and automatic doors at doorways with coamings due to space limitations and watertight doors are provided instead of weathertight doors, an exception is proposed that would permit the thresholds on the sides of the watertight doors containing the door seal to have non-beveled thresholds 1¼ inches high maximum provided that the thresholds contrast visually with adjacent deck surfaces.

V404.2.7 Door and Gate Hardware

This section would require the force to activate operable parts of door and gate hardware to not exceed 5 pounds.  Where the administrative authority determines that greater force is necessary, an exception would permit the administrative authority to establish the maximum force.

V404.2.9 Door and Gate Opening Force

This section would require fire doors and watertight doors for passenger use to have the minimum opening force determined by the administrative authority.

Question 33.  Do fire doors and watertight doors for passenger use exceed the minimum opening force determined by the administrative authority?  If so, comments should provide information explaining conditions where the minimum opening force is exceeded.

The section would require other doors and gates for passenger use, except exterior hinged doors and gates, to have an opening force of 5 pounds maximum.  Where the administrative authority determines that greater force is necessary, an exception would permit the administrative authority to establish the maximum force.

A proposed exception would not require doors on sailing vessels to comply with the proposed technical provisions for opening force.

V405 Ramps

For smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet, proposed exceptions would permit the clear width of ramp runs (including the clear width between handrails, where provided) to be 32 inches minimum instead of 36 inches minimum; and the length of landings at the top and bottom of ramp runs to be 48 inches long minimum instead of 60 inches long minimum.

V407 Elevators

This section would permit any door location on elevator cars that have 36 inches minimum door clear width.

V407 Elevators and V408 Limited Use-Limited Application Elevators

Where elevator cars provide emergency two-way communication systems, these sections would require the systems to provide a visual signal acknowledging that an emergency signal was received at the bridge or other space where emergency actions are directed.

Where a passenger vessel has more than one entry deck, an exception is proposed that would not require the elevator car control button for the entry deck to be identified with the entry deck tactile symbol.

V409 Platform Lifts

This section would require platform lifts to have a 450 pounds minimum rated load.  We are considering increasing the rated load to 660 pounds for inclined platform lifts and 750 pounds for vertical platform lifts in the final guidelines.  Product reviews of available inclined and vertical platform lifts show that they meet the higher rated loads.

Question 34.  Are inclined lifts complying with the ASME A18.1- 2011 Safety Standard for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts available that have rated loads greater than 660 pounds?  How much more do inclined platform lifts with a 660 pounds rated load and vertical platform lifts with a 750 pounds rated load cost compared to platform lifts with a 450 pounds rated load?  What are the benefits of inclined platform lifts with a 660 pounds rated load and vertical platform lifts with a 750 pounds rated load compared to platform lifts with a 450 pounds rated load?

For smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet, a proposed exception would permit the lift platform to be to be 32 inches wide minimum where it is approached at the short side in order to allow the use of inclined platform lifts.

V410 Gangways

This section contains proposed technical provisions for gangways that are part of accessible passenger boarding systems, including slope (V410.2); cross slope (V410.3); surfaces (V410.4); clear width (V410.5); transition plates (V410.6); landings (V410.7); handrails (V410.8); edge protection (V410.9); and wet conditions (V410.10).

The section would require gangway runs to have a running slope of 1:12 maximum.  For gangways carried on passenger vessels, a proposed exception would limit the total length of the gangway run or series of gangway runs to the beam of the passenger vessel (width of the vessel at its widest point).  For gangways provided at landside facilities, a proposed exception would limit the total length of the gangway run or series of gangway runs to 120 feet.  This would result in gangways with running slopes steeper than 1:12 in locations where there are severe tidal or water fluctuations.  However, satisfactory solutions cannot be achieved under all conditions in the marine environment.  We defer to DOT and DOJ to address when accessible passenger boarding systems, including gangways, would be required since passenger boarding systems can be provided at landside facilities and involve operational issues between the owner or operator of the landside facilities and the passenger vessel owner or operator that DOT and DOJ are authorized to address.

The section would prohibit changes in level, other than running slope and cross slope, on surfaces of gangway runs.  A proposed exception would permit changes in level ¼ inch without a bevel and ½ inch with a bevel on surfaces of gangway runs where conditions result in gangways with slopes greater than 1:4.  Another proposed exception would permit changes in level on the portion of the surface of a gangway run that is outside a 36 inches wide minimum surface located between handrails and free of changes in level.

For vehicle ferries, a proposed exception for running slope would be permitted where the only way for pedestrian passengers to embark or disembark is by way of a gangway that also functions as a vehicle transfer bridge.  Another proposed exception would permit readily removable handrails on gangways that also function as a vehicle transfer bridge.

For smaller passenger vessels where the largest deck is less than 3,000 square feet, a proposed exception would permit the clear width of gangway runs (including the width between handrails, where provided) to be 32 inches minimum instead of 36 inches minimum.

V411 Manually Powered Boarding Lifts

This section contains the proposed technical provisions for manually powered boarding lifts, including design load (V411.2); controls (V411.3); emergency operation (V411.4); equipment failure (V411.5); platform barriers (V411.6); platform surface and size (V411.7); platform approaches (V411.8); platform direction (V411.10); and handrails (V411.11).  Manually powered boarding lifts can be used as a component of an accessible passenger boarding system or to access tender boarding platforms in certain conditions.

Chapter V 5: General Passenger Vessel Elements

Chapter V 5 contains the proposed technical provisions for pool stairs, including treads and risers (V502.2); closed risers (V502.3); tread surface (V502.4); nosings (V502.5); and handrails (V502.6);.  Chapter V 5 also contains the proposed technical provisions for handrails, including where they would be required (V503.1 and V503.2); continuity (V503.3); height (V503.4); clearance (V503.5); gripping surface (V503.6); cross section (V 503.7); surfaces (V5003,8); fittings (V503.9); and handrail extensions (V503.10).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 5 are the same as those for landside facilities except as noted below.

Where the administrative authority requires handrails along walking surfaces with slopes not steeper than 1:20 to be located more than 38 inches above the deck, a proposed exception would not require the handrails to comply with the proposed technical provision for height.

Chapter V 6: Plumbing Elements and Facilities

Chapter V 6 contains the proposed technical provisions for drinking fountains (V602); toilet and bathing rooms (V603); water closets and toilet compartments (V604); urinals (V605); lavatories and sinks (V606); bathtubs (V607); shower compartments and rinsing showers (V608); grab bars (V609); tub and shower seats (V610); laundry equipment (V611); and saunas and steam rooms (V612).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 6 are the same as those for landside facilities.

Comments from the cruise industry on earlier drafts of the guidelines noted the need for flexibility in designing bathrooms in guest rooms with mobility features.  The proposed technical provisions in V603.2.2 permit clear deck spaces, clearances at fixtures, and turning spaces in bathrooms to overlap (e.g., clearances at water closets and roll-in showers can overlap).  A grab bar would be required on the side wall opposite the seat in roll-in showers only if a side wall is provided.  If no sidewall is provided, a grab bar would not be required.

Chapter V 7:  Communication Elements and Features

Chapter V 7 contains the proposed technical provisions for visible notification appliances for general emergency alarms in public areas (V702); signs (V703); telephones (V704); two-way communication systems (V705); assistive listening systems (V706); and automatic teller machines and fare machines (V707).  Except for general emergency alarms, which are discussed under Chapter V 2, the proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 7 are the same as those for landside facilities.

Chapter V 8: Special Rooms, Spaces, and Elements

Chapter V 8 contains the proposed technical provisions for wheelchair spaces, companion seats, and designated aisle seats (V802); dressing, fitting, and locker rooms (V803); galleys and pantries (V804); medical care facilities (V805); passenger guest rooms (V806); and storage (V807).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 8 are the same as for landside facilities except as noted below.

V802 Wheelchair Spaces

For ferries permitted to carry 150 or fewer passengers that provide only one transportation seating area under 100 square feet, a proposed exception would permit wheelchair spaces in the transportation seating area to overlap onboard accessible routes, accessible means of escape, and means of escape required by the administrative authority.  A proposed exception would not require shoulder alignment of wheelchair spaces and companion seats at tables and counters.

V806.2 Guest Rooms with Mobility Features

A proposed exception would permit shelving to be used in bathrooms to provide comparable counter top space.  Where doors connect adjacent guest rooms and one of the guest rooms does not provide mobility features, a proposed exception would not require the door on the side of the guest room that does not provide mobility features to comply with the proposed technical provisions for maneuvering clearances.

Where windows are provided in guest rooms with mobility features for operation by passengers, this section would require at least one window to meet the proposed technical provisions for operable parts in V309, including 5 pounds maximum force to operate.

Question 35.  Are marine windows available that do not require more than 5 pounds force to operate?  Can methods or products used to facilitate window operation in landside facilities be used in the marine environment?  Are automated marine windows available?

Question 36.  In new construction, can balcony doors that are not required to have coamings be designed to meet the proposed technical provisions in V404.2.5.1 for height (½ inch maximum) and openings (not allow passage of a sphere more than ½ inch in diameter)?  Can drains be provided at balconies to prevent water from entering guest rooms?

For the final guidelines, we are considering technical provisions for beds that are fixed in place, including bed height and clearance between upper and lower berths.

Question 37.  Is the 17 inches to 19 inches height specified for shower seats and water closets appropriate for beds in guest rooms with mobility features?  What should be the minimum clear height above the lower berth where upper and lower berths are provided?

Chapter V 9: Built-In Elements

Chapter V 9 contains the proposed technical provisions for built-in elements, including tables and counters (V902); benches (V903); and sales and service counters (V904).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 9 are the same as for landside facilities except as noted below.

Proposed exceptions would permit clear deck spaces at low beverage tables and narrow counters to be positioned for a parallel approach by passengers who use wheelchairs.

Chapter V 10:  Recreation Facilities

Chapter V 10 contains the proposed technical provisions for recreation facilities, including exercise machines and equipment (V1002); miniature golf facilities (V1003); play areas (V1004); swimming pools, wading pools, and spas (V1005); and shooting positions (V1006).  The proposed technical provisions in Chapter V 10 are the same as for landside facilities.

The proposed technical provisions for pool lifts would require single person pool lifts to have a weight capacity of 300 pounds minimum and be capable of sustaining a static load of at least one and a half times the rated load.

Question 38.  Are there factors unique to the marine environment that may warrant different technical provisions for pool lifts on passenger vessels, including lifting capacity?

Chapter V 11:  Tenders

Chapter V 11 contains proposed scoping and technical provisions for tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.  Chapter V 11 would require tenders to provide at least two wheelchair spaces.  Chapter V 11 also would require at least one onboard accessible route to connect each wheelchair space to the entry and departure points of the tender used by passengers in non-emergency conditions serving the seating area in which the wheelchair space is located.

Question 39.  Are there new tenders that do not meet the proposed scoping and technical provisions in Chapter V 11?

8.  Regulatory Analyses

Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review):

The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed the proposed guidelines in accordance with Executive Orders 13563 and 12866.  Among other things, Executive Order 13563 directs agencies to propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; tailor the regulation to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; and, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits.  Executive Order 13563 recognizes that some benefits are difficult to quantify and provides that, where appropriate and permitted by law, agencies may consider and discuss qualitatively values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts.

We prepared a regulatory assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed guidelines.  The regulatory assessment is available at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/ and http://www.regulations.gov.  We estimate the compliance costs separately for:  (1) ferries, multi-purpose vessels such as dinner vessels and excursion vessels, and small cruise ships; and (2) large cruise ships operating in U.S. ports.  We consider cruise ships permitted to carry between 50 and 299 overnight passengers small cruise ships, and cruise ship permitted to carry 300 or more passengers large cruise ships.

Ferries, Multi-Purpose Vessels, and Small Cruise Ships

We estimate there were 454 ferries, 346 multi-purpose vessels, and 32 small cruise ships in the size categories covered by the proposed guidelines operating in U.S. ports as of 2010.  These 832 vessels are listed in Appendix I to the regulatory assessment, along with the data sources.

Question 40.  Are there vessels listed in Appendix I that should not be included in the appendix (e.g., vessels retired)?  Are there vessels not listed in Appendix I that should be included in the appendix?

We estimate 387 of the ferries (85%), 286 of the multi-purpose vessels (83%), and 23 of the small cruise ships (72%) for a total of 696 of the vessels (84%) are expected to reach the end of their service life over 20 years.  We assume these vessels would be replaced by new vessels and the new vessels would have the same passenger and vehicle capacity, passenger amenities, and number of passenger decks as the vessels they replace.  We also assume the total number of vessels would be stable over 20 years.

We conducted case studies of ten vessels to develop estimates of the compliance costs.  We divided the 696 vessels that we assume to be replaced over 20 years into 13 groups by type and size of vessel and extrapolated the compliance costs from the case study vessels to these vessels.  See Table 8 in regulatory assessment for the 13 groups of vessels and case study vessels matched with each group.  The compliance costs include the following components:

  • Vertical Access Construction Cost.  This is the cost of installing an elevator, limited use-limited application elevator (LULA), or platform lift to connect passenger decks on a vessel with more than one deck.  See Table 9 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the vertical access construction costs for the vessels
  • Other Accessible Feature Costs.  This includes the cost to expand toilet rooms; modify doors and thresholds; install automatic doors at doorways with coamings and double ramps; add assistive listening systems; and provide protected waiting areas as part of an accessible means of escape where passengers with disabilities wait for crew assistance during emergencies.  See Table 10 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the other accessible feature costs for the vessels.
  • Lengthening Cost.  This is the cost of increasing the length of a vessel to accommodate the accessible features and maintain passenger and vehicle capacity.  See Table 11 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the costs to lengthen the vessels.
  • Redesign Cost.  This is the cost for architectural design drawings for a new vessel that differs in design from the vessel it replaces.  See Table 12 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the redesign costs for the vessels.
  • Vertical Access Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost of maintaining an elevator, LULA, or platform lift to connect passenger decks.  See Table 13 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the vertical access maintenance costs for the vessels.
  • Automatic Door Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost of maintaining and replacing automatic doors at doorways with coamings and double ramps.  See Table 13 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the automatic door maintenance costs for the vessels.
  • Engine Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost for additional engine maintenance due to added weight from the accessible features and vessel lengthening.  See Table 14 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the engine maintenance costs for the vessels.
  • Fuel Cost.  This is the annual cost for additional fuel consumption due to installing an elevator, LULA, or platform lift to connect passenger decks and vessel lengthening.  See Table 14 in the regulatory assessment for estimates of the additional annual fuel costs for the vessels.

We estimate the total compliance costs for the vessels annualized over 20 years are $16 million discounted at 7 percent and 3 percent.  See Table 15 in the regulatory assessment for the total estimated compliance costs.

Question 41.  We request comment on the following questions regarding the regulatory assessment:

(a) Is it reasonable to assume the number of ferries, multi-purpose vessels, and small cruise ships to which the proposed guidelines would apply would be stable over 20 years?  Comments should include information to support alternate assumptions.

(b) Are the compliance cost estimates reasonable?  If the estimates are not reasonable, comments should identify the specific estimate that is not reasonable and alternative methods or sources of information to improve the estimate.

(c) Would providing an elevator, LULA, or platform lift on the vessels in Table 9 in the regulatory assessment result in increased electrical loads that would require larger electric generator systems?  Comments should include cost estimates for larger electric generator systems, where possible.

(d) Are the assumptions regarding the increases in fuel consumption in Table 14 in the regulatory assessment reasonable?  Comments should include information to support alternate assumptions.

(e) Would increasing the lengthen of the vessels in Table 11 in the regulatory assessment impact their use of docking areas?  Comments should describe any impacts and how to estimate the costs of the impacts.

(f) Would the proposed guidelines result in vessel owners and operators reducing the passenger and vehicle capacity of the vessels or reducing passenger amenities such as fixed seating or guest rooms; or would vessel owners and operators increase the size of the vessels to maintain or increase the passenger and vehicle capacity and passenger amenities?  If the passenger and vehicle capacity or passenger amenities would be reduced, we are interested in information to estimate the loss of capacity and net revenue loss.

(g) Are there other compliance costs associated with the proposed guidelines that are not identified in the regulatory assessment?

(h) Do the proposed guidelines have any unintended consequences for passenger vessels?

Large Cruise Ships

We estimate there were 113 large cruise ships operating in U.S. ports as of 2011.  These large cruise ships are listed in Appendix II to the regulatory assessment, along with the data sources.

Question 42.  Are there large cruise ships listed in Appendix II that should not be included in the appendix (e.g., vessels retired)?  Are there large cruise ships not listed in Appendix II that should be included in the appendix?

New large cruise ships provide many accessible features that would be required by the proposed guidelines, including elevators to connect passenger decks; guest rooms with mobility features; guest rooms with communication features; wheelchair spaces and assistive listening systems in assembly areas; and pool lifts.  We proposed to conduct case studies of new large cruise ships to examine the impact of the proposed guidelines on the vessels.  However, we did not conduct case studies of large cruise ships because we could not find cruise ship owners and operators to participate in case studies.  The cruise industry is concerned about the impact of the proposed scoping provision for guest rooms with mobility features.  Due to the lack of information, we did not estimate the costs for large cruise ships to comply with the proposed guidelines other than the proposed scoping provision for guest rooms with mobility features.

Question 43.  Would new large cruise ships incur incremental design, construction, operation and maintenance, or any other costs due to the proposed guidelines?  Which proposed provisions would result in incremental costs?  We are interested in information to estimate the incremental costs.

As discussed under V224.2 Guest Rooms with Mobility Features, the proposed guidelines would require cruise ships to provide a minimum number of guest rooms with mobility features.  Guest rooms with mobility features are typically larger than other guest rooms to accommodate passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters.  According to the cruise industry, two guest rooms with mobility features occupy the same square footage as three guest rooms resulting in the loss of one guest room for every two guest rooms with mobility features.  We estimate the number of guest rooms that would be lost over 20 years under the proposed scoping provision in Chapter 3 of the regulatory assessment.  We estimate the 113 large cruise ships operating in U.S. ports as of 2011 contained 123,516 guest rooms, including 2,392 guest rooms with mobility features (1.9% of the total number of guest rooms).  We assume 5 percent of the guest rooms in the cruise fleet are replaced annually and the total number of guest rooms increases by 3 percent annually.  Based on these assumptions, we estimate 786 guest rooms would be lost over 20 years under the proposed scoping provision against the baseline of the cruise industry practice in the absence of the guidelines.  According to the cruise industry, each guest room produced $140,000 gross revenue in 2005.  Adjusting this figure for inflation to $161,250 in 2011 dollars, we estimate the gross revenue loss annualized over 20 years is $50 million discounted at 7 percent, and $58 million discounted at 3 percent.

We do not estimate costs for tenders because the proposed provisions for tenders are minimal and new tenders meet the provisions.

Benefits

We do not quantify the benefits of the proposed guidelines due to the nature of the benefits.  The proposed guidelines would address the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers encountered by individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities on passenger vessels.  Accessible passenger boarding systems would enable passengers with mobility disabilities to independently board and disembark from passenger vessels.  Wheelchair spaces in seating areas would enable passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters to sit with other passengers.  Passengers with mobility disabilities would be able to use toilet rooms and guest rooms on passenger vessels and cruise ships.  Assistive listening systems would enable passengers who have difficulty hearing to listen to a narrated tour delivered on the public address system of an excursion vessel.  Passengers who have difficulty seeing or are blind would be able to walk around passenger vessels without encountering protruding objects.  The proposed guidelines would afford individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to travel on passenger vessels for employment, transportation, public accommodation, and leisure.  The proposed guidelines would enable individuals with disabilities to achieve greater participation in society, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.  The benefits are difficult to quantify, but include important national values recognized in Executive Order 13563 such as equity, human dignity, and fairness.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau asks questions about whether persons have difficulty performing a specific set of functional activities.34  The SIPP provides estimates of disability prevalence that are representative of the civilian non-institutionalized population living in the United States.  We recognize that not all these individuals are likely to directly benefit from the proposed guidelines because some may not use passenger vessels covered by the proposed guidelines.  We do not have information to estimate the number of people with mobility disabilities or their family members who would directly benefit from the proposed guidelines.  We provide the data below for illustrative purposes.

Persons with Mobility Disabilities

The proposed provisions for accessible passenger boarding systems, onboard accessible routes, accessible means of escape, toilet rooms, wheelchair spaces in assembly areas and transportation seating areas, and guest rooms with mobility features would directly benefit persons with mobility disabilities who use passenger vessels covered by the proposed guidelines.  The SIPP data show among persons aged 15 and older, 30.6 million (12.6%) had limitations associated with ambulatory activities of the lower body, including difficulty walking, climbing stairs, or using mobility devices.  This number includes:

  • 23.9 million (9.9%) had difficulty walking a quarter of a mile;
  • 22.3 million (9.2%) had difficulty climbing a flight of stairs;
  • 11.6 million (4.8%) used a cane, crutches, or walker to assist with mobility; and
  • 3.6 million (1.5%) used a wheelchair or scooter.
Persons Who Have Difficulty Hearing or Are Deaf

The proposed provisions for assistive listening systems, general emergency alarms, and guest rooms with communication features would directly benefit persons who have difficulty hearing or are deaf and use passenger vessels covered by the proposed guidelines.  The SIPP data show among persons aged 15 and older 7.6 million (3.1%) had difficulty hearing, including 5.6 million (2.3%) used a hearing aid and 1.1 million (0.5%) were deaf.

The SIPP reports that fewer persons with hearing impairments compared to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES).  NHANES includes audiometric testing of participants.  NHANES data for persons aged 12 and older show 30 million (12.7%) had a bilateral hearing loss and the number increases to 48.1 million (20.3%) when unilateral hearing loss is included.35

Persons Who Have Difficulty Seeing or Are Blind

The proposed provisions for protruding objects, elevator call buttons and signals, and tactile and visual characters on signs would directly benefit persons who have difficulty seeing or are blind and use passenger vessels covered by the proposed guidelines.  The SIPP data show among persons aged 15 and older, 8.1 million (3.3%) had difficulty seeing, including 2.0 million (0.8%) were blind.

Question 44.  Do the proposed guidelines have other qualitative benefits?  Are there methods or sources of information for monetizing or quantifying the benefits of the proposed guidelines?

Primary Estimates of Costs and Benefits

The primary estimates of the costs and benefits of the proposed guidelines are shown in Table 6.  We estimate the total compliance costs annualized over 20 years are $66 million discounted at 7 percent, and $74 million discounted at 3 percent.

Table 6.  Primary Estimates of Costs and Benefits of Proposed Guidelines
Annualized Over 20 Years (2011 Dollars)
  7% Discount Rate 3% Discount Rate
Costs $66 million $74 million
Benefits

The proposed guidelines would address the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers encountered by individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities on passenger vessels.  The proposed guidelines would afford these individuals equal opportunity to travel on passenger vessels for employment, transportation, public accommodation, and leisure.  The benefits are difficult to quantify, but include important national values recognized in Executive Order 13563 such as equity, human dignity, and fairness.

Question 45.  Are there alternatives in addition to those included in the proposed guidelines that would: (1) achieve the statutory and regulatory objective to ensure that passenger vessels are readily accessible to and usable by passengers with disabilities; and (2) reduce the compliance costs for passenger vessel owners and operators?

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

We are required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act to consider the impact of regulatory proposals on small entities; analyze alternatives that minimize the impact on small entities; and make the analysis available for comment.  We included an initial regulatory flexibility analysis to meet the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act in Chapter 7 of the regulatory assessment.  The initial regulatory flexibility analysis estimates the compliance costs for small entities that construct new vessels to replace existing vessels.  The initial regulatory flexibility analysis include tables showing the compliance costs for 13 groups of vessels by type and size.

Why Are We Issuing the Proposed Guidelines?

We are required by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to issue accessibility guidelines for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.  We are issuing the proposed guidelines pursuant to this statutory authority.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are required to issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA that are consistent with our guidelines.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the proposed guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

What is the Objective of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed Guidelines?

The objective of the proposed guidelines is to ensure that newly constructed and altered portions of passenger vessels are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  The legal basis for the proposed guidelines is section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and section 504 of the ADA.

How Many Small Entities Would Be Affected by Proposed Guidelines?

The proposed guidelines would affect small businesses identified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes listed in Table 7 and small governments with a population of 50,000 or less that own or operate passenger vessels, other than ferries or tenders, permitted to carry more than 150 passengers or more than 49 overnight passengers; ferries permitted to carry more than 99 passengers; and tenders permitted to carry more than 59 passengers.

Table 7.  Small Business Administration Size Standards
NAICS Code Small Business Size
483112 Deep Sea Passenger Transportation 500 or fewer employees
483114 Coastal and Great Lakes Passenger Transportation 500 or fewer employees
483212 Inland Water Passenger Transportation 500 or fewer employees
487110 Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water $7 million or less annual receipts
713210 Casinos (except Casino Hotels) $7 million or less annual receipts

We estimate 381 small entities own or operate 635 vessels in the size categories covered by the proposed guidelines.  This includes 372 small businesses that own or operate 257 ferries, 338 multi-purpose vessels, and 23 small cruise ships permitted to carry 50 to 299 overnight passengers; and 9 small governments that own or operate 16 ferries and 1 multi-purpose vessel.

What Are the Proposed Compliance Requirements?

The proposed guidelines would apply when small entities replace their existing vessels with new vessels or add new vessels to their fleet.  The proposed guidelines, themselves, would not require existing vessels to be made accessible except where altered.  The proposed guidelines contain proposed scoping and technical provisions.  The proposed scoping provisions specify what passenger vessel features would be required to be accessible.  Where multiple features of the same type are provided, the proposed scoping provisions specify how many of the features would be required to be accessible.  The proposed technical provisions specify the design criteria for accessible features.  The passenger vessel features addressed by the proposed scoping and technical provisions include onboard accessible routes connecting passenger decks and passenger amenities within decks; accessible means of escape; doorways and coamings; toilet rooms; wheelchair spaces in assembly areas and transportation seating areas; assistive listening systems; general emergency alarms; guest rooms; and other passenger amenities.  The proposed guidelines include proposed technical provisions for accessible passenger boarding systems.  However, we defer to DOT and DOJ to address when accessible passenger boarding systems would be required since passenger boarding systems can be provided at landside facilities and involve operational issues between the owner or operator of the landside facility and the passenger vessel owner or operator that DOT and DOJ are authorized to address.

What Are the Compliance Costs for Small Entities?

We estimate the compliance costs for small entities that construct new vessels to replace existing vessels.  As shown in Table 8, we estimate 533 vessels owned or operated by small entities would reach the end of their expected service life over 20 years beginning in 2011.  We assume small entities would construct new vessels to replace these vessels.  The estimated compliance costs are based on case studies and are adjusted to 2011 dollars.

Table 8.  Small Entity Vessels Replaced by New Vessels Over 20 Years
Vessel Number Number Replaced Over 20 Years
Ferries 273 238
Multi-Purpose Vessels 339 279
Small Cruise Ships 23 16
Total 635 533

The compliance costs include the following components:

  • Vertical Access Cost.  This is the cost of installing an elevator, limited use-limited application elevator (LULA), or platform lift to connect passenger decks on a vessel with more than one deck.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 65 vessels would be required to provide a LULA at a cost of $297,000; 29 vessels would be required to provide an elevator at a cost of $372,000; 5 small cruise ships that currently provide elevators would be required to provide larger elevators at a cost of $2,700; and 16 small cruise ships would be required to provide a platform lift to tender boarding platforms at the stern of the vessel at a cost of $27,700.  See Table 22 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur compliance costs for an elevator, LULA, or platform lift.
  • Other Accessible Feature Costs.  This includes the cost to expand toilet rooms; modify doors and thresholds; install automatic doors at doorways with coamings and double ramps; add assistive listening systems; and provide protected waiting areas as part of an accessible means of escape where passengers with disabilities wait for crew assistance during emergencies.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 516 vessels would incur compliance costs for other accessible features.  The costs would range from $19,000 for mono-hull ferries permitted to carry 151 to 1,000 passengers plus vehicles to $631,000 for mono-hull ferries permitted to carry 1,001 or more passengers plus vehicles. The costs are higher for mono-hull ferries permitted to carry 1,001 or more passengers plus vehicles because the estimate is based on the case study of a 4,400 passenger and 30 vehicle ferry where the owner wanted to provide automatic sprinkler systems instead of protected waiting areas as part of an accessible means of escape even though the automatic sprinkler systems are more costly. The costs would be lower if protected waiting areas are provided.  See Table 23 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur compliance costs for other accessible features.
  • Lengthening Cost.  This is the cost of increasing the length of a vessel to accommodate the accessible features and maintain passenger and vehicle capacity.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 217 vessels would need to be lengthened due to the proposed guidelines.  The costs would range from $60,000 for mono-hull ferries permitted to carry 100 to 150 passengers to $2,117,000 for some small cruise ships.  See Table 23 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur compliance costs to lengthen the vessel.
  • Redesign Cost.  This is the cost for architectural design drawings for a new vessel that differs in design from the existing vessel it replaces.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 470 vessels would need to be redesigned due to the proposed guidelines.  The costs would range from $2,000 for some mono-hull ferries permitted to carry 151 to 1,000 passengers plus vehicles to $261,100 for some small cruise ships.  See Table 23 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur compliance costs to redesign the vessel.
  • Additional Fuel Cost.  This is the annual cost for additional fuel consumption due to installing an elevator, LULA, or platform lift to connect passenger decks and vessel lengthening.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 243 vessels would incur additional fuel costs due to the proposed guidelines.  The costs would range from $5,000 annually for mono-hull vessels permitted to carry 151 to 1,000 passengers to $214,000 annually for multi-hull vessels permitted to carry 151 to 600 passengers.  See Table 24 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur additional fuel costs.
  • Vertical Access Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost of maintaining an elevator, LULA, or platform lift to connect passenger decks.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 100 vessels would incur these annual maintenance costs.  The costs would be $5,500 for an elevator or LULA, and $2,800 for a platform lift.  See Table 24 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur these annual maintenance costs.
  • Additional Engine Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost for additional engine maintenance due to added weight from the accessible features or vessel lengthening.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 37 vessels would incur these annual maintenance costs.  The costs would be $22,000 for multi-hull ferries permitted to carry 100 to 150 passengers.  See Table 24 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur these annual maintenance costs.
  • Automatic Door Maintenance Cost.  This is the annual cost of maintaining and replacing the automatic doors provided at doorways with coamings and double ramps.  When small entities construct new vessels to replace existing vessels, we estimate 54 vessels would incur these annual maintenance costs. The costs would range from $1,000 for mono-hull multi-purpose vessels permitted to carry 500 to 1,000 passengers, to $6,000 for mono-hull multi-purpose vessels permitted to carry 1,001 or more passengers.  See Table 24 in the regulatory assessment for the types and sizes of the vessels that would incur these annual maintenance costs.
What Significant Alternatives Did We Consider?

We based the proposed guidelines on our accessibility guidelines for landside facilities.  Table 25 in the regulatory assessment compares the proposed guidelines for passenger vessels to the guidelines for landside facilities to show the exceptions and alternative provisions that we propose to reduce the impact on passenger vessels owners and operators, including small entities.

Are There Other Relevant Federal Rules?

DOT has issued regulations implementing the ADA for passenger vessels that provide designated public transportation services operated by state and local governments or specified public transportation services operated by private entities that are primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce.  DOT has reserved a subpart in the regulations for accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels in anticipation of our issuing these guidelines.  See 49 CFR part 39, subpart E.  DOJ has issued regulations implementing the ADA for state and local governments and public accommodations, including those provided on passenger vessels such as cruise ships, gaming vessels, and dinner vessels.  See 28 CFR parts 35 and 36.  Passenger vessel owners and operators would not be required to comply with the guidelines until they are adopted by DOT and DOJ as accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

The proposed guidelines adhere to the fundamental federalism principles and policy making criteria in Executive Order 13132.  The proposed guidelines are issued pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), civil rights legislation that was enacted by Congress pursuant to its authority to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to regulate commerce.  The ADA was enacted to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and to ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing the standards.  See 42 U.S.C. 12101 (b) (1) and (3).  The ADA recognizes the authority of state and local governments to enact and enforce laws that provide for greater or equal protection for the rights of individuals with disabilities.  See 42 U.S.C. 12201 (b).  State and local government agencies were members of the advisory committee that provided recommendations for the proposed guidelines.  We made drafts of the guidelines available for public comment in 2004 and 2006.  State and local governments provided comments on the drafts.  We considered the comments when developing the proposed guidelines.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act does not apply to proposed or final rules that enforce constitutional rights of individuals or enforce statutory rights that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or disability.  Since the proposed guidelines are issued pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, an assessment of their effect on state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector is not required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1196

Civil Rights, Incorporation by reference, Individuals with disabilities, Transportation.

_________________________________

Karen L. Braitmayer,

Chair.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, we propose to add part 1196 to title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

PART 1196 – PASSENGER VESSELS ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES

Sec. 1196.1 Accessibility Guidelines.

Appendix to Part 1196 – Passenger Vessels Accessibility Guidelines

Authority:  29 U.S.C. 794f, 42 U.S.C. 12204.

§ 1196.1 Accessibility Guidelines.

The accessibility guidelines for passenger vessels covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are set forth in the appendix to this part.  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are required to issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA that are consistent with these guidelines.  When DOT and DOJ issue accessibility standards for the construction and alteration of passenger vessels covered by the ADA, passenger vessel owners and operators are required to comply with the standards.


1.  The Access Board is an independent federal agency established by section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act.  See 29 U.S.C. 792.  The Access Board consists of 13 members appointed by the President from the public, a majority of which are individuals with disabilities, and the heads of 12 federal agencies or their designees whose positions are Executive Level IV or above.  The federal agencies are: The Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; General Services Administration; and United States Postal Service.

2.  Title III of the ADA covers twelve categories of places of public accommodation, including places of lodging, establishments serving food or drink, and places of exhibition or entertainment.  See 42 U.S.C. 12181 (7).

3.  The definitions of the terms designated public transportation and specified public transportation are similar and mean transportation by bus, rail, or any other conveyance that provides the general public with general or special service, including charter service, on a regular and continuing basis.  See 42 U.S.C. 12141 (2) and 12181 (10).

4.  International Maritime Organization, Guidelines for the Design and Installation of a Visible Element to the General Emergency Alarm System on Passenger Ships, MSC.1/Circ.1418, June 13, 2012 at: http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Circulars/Pages/IMODOCS.aspx.

5.  The administrative authority is referred to in the following sections: V202.3 Exception 3 (alterations); V207.1 (accessible means of escape); V302.3 Exception 2 (openings); V307.4 Exception 2 (vertical clearance at doorways with coamings); V404.2.5 Exception (thresholds and coamings); V404.2.7 Exception 1 (door hardware force); V404.2.9.1 and V404.2.9.2 Exception (door operating force); V503.4 Exception (handrail height along walking surfaces); V604.5.2 Exception 2 (grab bars at water closets); V703.5.6 Exception 2 (mounting height for signs); and V802.1.5 (wheelchair spaces).

6.  The advisory committee recommended different guidelines for smaller passenger vessels subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapters C and T.

7.  Gross tonnage is a measure of a passenger vessel’s volume.  See 46 CFR part 69.

8.  Separate scoping provisions are proposed for ferries and tenders in V201.1.2 and V201.1.3.

9.  New large cruise ships provide many of the accessible features that would be required by the proposed guidelines, including elevators to connect passenger decks; guest rooms with mobility features; guest rooms with communication features; wheelchair spaces and assistive listening systems in assembly areas; and pool lifts.  The cruise industry is concerned that the proposed scoping provision for guest rooms with mobility features would result in a loss of guest rooms and revenue.  We discuss this issue under V224.2 Guest Rooms with Mobility Features.

10.  U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2008 National Census of Ferry Operators Highlights at:  http://apps.bts.gov/programs/ncfo/.

11.  Ferries that carry 150 or fewer passengers are subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter T.  Ferries that carry more than 150 passengers or 49 overnight passengers are subject to U.S. Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter K.

12.  The U.S. Coast Guard regulations for passenger vessels subject to 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapters K and T base the maximum number of passengers permitted on the vessels on the length of rail criterion, deck area criterion, or fixed seating criterion, or a combination of these criteria.  See 46 CFR 115.113 and 176.113.

13.  The owners of some of the larger case study ferries were not concerned about the loss of some fixed seating due to the proposed guidelines.  The case studies of these ferries do not include a second design option.

14.  U.S. Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter H have different requirements for vessels than the regulations in 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapters T and K.

15.  ASME 17.1-2010 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, section 5.2.1.16.5.

16.  ASME 17.1-2010 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, section 5.2.1.16.5.

17.  Rinsing showers with transfer type, standard roll-in type, or alternate roll-in type shower compartments would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions for size and clearances for shower compartments (V608.2); grab bars (V608.3); and seats (V608.4).

18.  Only toilet rooms and bathrooms in passenger guest rooms required to provide mobility features would be required to comply with the proposed technical provisions in V603.

19.  International Maritime Organization, Guidelines for the Design and Installation of a Visible Element to the General Emergency Alarm System on Passenger Ships, MSC.1/Circ.1418, June 13, 2012 at:  http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Circulars/Pages/IMODOCS.aspx.

20.  A telecoil is a circuit inside the hearing aid that is designed to pick up electromagnetic signals.

21.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010 at:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

22.  Frank R. Lin, John K. Niparko, and Luigi Ferrucci, Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States, JAMA Internal Medicine (November 14, 2011) at:  http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106004.

23.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010 at:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

24.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010 at:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

25.  Mitch P. LaPlante and H. Stephen Kaye, Mobility Device Use and Hearing Impairments Among Individuals and Households: 1990 – 2010 (February 15, 2013) at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.

26.  Cruise ship passengers can rent wheelchairs and scooters from Special Needs at Seas at:  http://www.specialneedsatsea.com/.

27.  Cruise Lines International Association, Passenger Vessel Access Guidelines Access Scoping Economic Impact Study (June 23, 2008) at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.

28.  A sample of about 500 wheeled mobility devices shows that the minimum clear width needed for a manual wheelchair user ranges from 27 to 31 inches; for a power wheelchair user ranges from 27 to 33 inches; and for a scooter user ranges from 24 to 33 inches.  Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, Design Resources DR-15 Clear Floor Area for Wheeled Mobility: Redefining the “common wheelchair” (January 4, 2011) at:  http://udeworld.com/documents/designresources/pdfs/CFA.pdf.

29.  Mitch P. LaPlante and H. Stephen Kaye, Mobility Device Use and Hearing Impairments Among Individuals and Households: 1990 – 2010 (February 15, 2013) at: http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.

30.  Frank R. Lin, John K. Niparko, and Luigi Ferrucci, Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States, JAMA Internal Medicine (November 14, 2011) at:  http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106004.

31.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010 at:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

32.  International Maritime Organization, Guidelines for the Design and Installation of a Visible Element to the General Emergency Alarm System on Passenger Ships, MSC.1/Circ.1418, June 13, 2012 at:  http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Circulars/Pages/IMODOCS.aspx.

33.  Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, ADA Access to Passenger Vessels: Finding Safety Equivalence Solutions for Watertight Doors with Coamings at:  http://www.access-board.gov/pvag/.

34.  U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010 at:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

35.  Frank R. Lin, John K. Niparko, and Luigi Ferrucci, Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States, JAMA Internal Medicine (November 14, 2011) at:  http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106004.