MS. BRUNSON: There it is. Thank you. Thank you for being flexible. First of all, I was under the impression that the American Council of the Blind was going to be represented by someone else and that didn't happen, so I made a mad dash to change my schedule and be here. So my comments will be brief, but please note that we will be submitting comments, more extensive comments, in writing.
I want to begin by saying that I had the privilege of serving with Mr. Waterhouse and others on the Passenger Vessels Access Advisory Committee, and I think he was absolutely right in saying that it was a learning experience for all of us. We learned a lot as passengers about the challenges faced by operators, and I think the operators learned a lot about the challenges faced by passengers.
And we all worked together to try to come up with the best possible scenarios because I think we all recognize that passenger vessels do present special challenges to operators in terms of building in accessibility that buildings don't.
On the other hand, they also present special challenges to passengers that buildings don't. And the question was, how can we do our best to accommodate the challenges faced by both communities? And I think that the recommendations that we made represented our best efforts at doing that.
The particular constituency that I represent was primarily concerned about the communications of visual information. And some of that is operational about things like messages, information that is disseminated by the operators of cruise ships and those kinds of things. But what I want to focus on in my comments here today is the information, the visual information, that is necessary to navigate a vessel because I think that there are some principles that apply to all sizes of vessels.
The primary concern that we had -- well, there were two. We believe that it is readily achievable in most instances for vessel operators to provide signage in a format that is accessible to people with visual impairments and, in many instances, to provide other types of navigational information. And by "other types of navigational information," what I mean is, as you know from your work on this and certainly from the discussions today, there are a lot of changes in level due to stairs, the presence of coamings, and those kinds of things on shipboard. And we certainly recognize that some of that has to be there, but for people with visual impairments, it's not always obvious.
So our concern was to encourage the inclusion of accessibility features that would help to provide contrast in the walking areas so that people with limited vision would better be able to discern where those changes underfoot would occur.
The other issue had to do with signage on different parts of the ship. Particularly on cruise ships, it's a difficulty, things like rooms, particularly sleeping rooms. Hotels are required to have signage that contains room numbers. And, although some of the cruise ships I understand are getting better at providing that, we believe that it has a long way to go and it should be a universal requirement.
And signage with respect to as much as possible to communicate to folks the status of and the specific information they need to know about elevators. There's a lot of interesting things that happen on elevators, and I've heard some interesting stories from folks who have traveled on cruise ships particularly because they're large and because they have different elevators that go to different places. And the information, it's -- one of the things that we have been quite concerned about is ensuring that passengers have the type of information they need in order to determine whether the elevator they are about to get on is the one they need to be on to get where they're going.
So those are the kinds of issues that we, as an organization, have been concerned about. And I will be offering some more extensive comments, or our organization will be offering some more extensive comments on them in connection with the document that you folks have released. And I just wanted to thank you for that, and we look forward to giving you our input. And if you have any questions of me today, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
MS. [JAN] TUCK [BOARD CHAIR]: Anybody have any questions? No. Melanie, thank you very much.
MS. BRUNSON: Thank you.