V101 Purpose

V101.1 General.  This document contains scoping and technical requirements for accessibility to passenger vessels by individuals with disabilities.  The requirements are to be applied during the design, construction, additions to, and alteration of facilities and elements on passenger vessels to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

V101.2 Effect on Removal of Barriers in Existing Facilities.  This document does not address existing passenger vesselsunless altered at the discretion of a covered entity.  The Department of Justice has authority over existing passenger vessels that are subject to the requirement for removal of barriers under title III of the ADA.  Any determination that this document applies to existing passenger vessels subject to the barrier removal requirement is solely within the discretion of the Department of Justice and is effective only to the extent required by regulations issued by the Department of Justice.

V102 Dimensions for Adults and Children.  The technical requirements are based on adult dimensions and anthropometrics.  In addition, this document includes technical requirements based on children’s dimensions and anthropometrics for drinking fountains, water closets, toilet compartments, lavatories and sinks, dining surfaces, and work surfaces.

V103 Equivalent Facilitation.   Nothing in these requirements prevents the use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability. 

Advisory V103 Equivalent Facilitation.  The responsibility for demonstrating equivalent facilitation in the event of a challenge rests with the covered entity.  With the exception of transit facilities, which are covered by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation, there is no process for certifying that an alternative design provides equivalent facilitation. 

V104 Standard Practices


V104.1 Dimensions.  Dimensions that are not stated as “maximum” or “minimum” are absolute.


V104.1.1 Construction and Manufacturing Tolerances.  All dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where the requirement is stated as a range with specific minimum and maximum end points.

Advisory V104.1.1 Construction and Manufacturing Tolerances.  Conventional industry tolerances recognized by this provision include those for field conditions and those that may be a necessary consequence of a particular manufacturing process.  Recognized tolerances are not intended to apply to design work.

It is good practice when specifying dimensions to avoid specifying a tolerance where dimensions are absolute.  For example, if this document requires “1½ inches,” avoid specifying “1½ inches plus or minus X inches.”

Where the requirement states a specified range, such as in Section V609.4 where grab bars must be installed between 33 inches and 36 inches above the deck surface, the range provides an adequate tolerance and therefore no tolerance outside of the range at either end point is permitted.

Where a requirement is a minimum or a maximum dimension that does not have two specific minimum and maximum end points, tolerances may apply.  Where an element is to be installed at the minimum or maximum permitted dimension, such as “15 inches minimum” or “5 pounds maximum”, it would not be good practice to specify “5 pounds (plus X pounds) or 15 inches (minus X inches).”  Rather, it would be good practice to specify a dimension less than the required maximum (or more than the required minimum) by the amount of the expected field or manufacturing tolerance and not to state any tolerance in conjunction with the specified dimension.


Specifying dimensions in design in the manner described above will better ensure that facilities, spaces and elements on passenger vessels accomplish the level of accessibility intended by these requirements.  It will also more often produce an end result of strict and literal compliance with the stated requirements and eliminate enforcement difficulties and issues that might otherwise arise.  Information on specific tolerances may be available from industry or trade organizations and published references.

V104.1.2 Slopes.  All slopes are measured when the passenger vessel is in a static condition with design trim and heel.


V104.2 Calculation of Percentages.  Where the required number of elements or facilities to be provided is determined by calculations of ratios or percentages and remainders or fractions result, the next greater whole number of such elements or facilities shall be provided.  Where the determination of the required size or dimension of an element or facility involves ratios or percentages, rounding down for values less than one half shall be permitted.

V104.3 Figures.  Unless specifically stated otherwise, figures are provided for informational purposes only.

V105 Referenced Standards


V105.1 General.  The standards listed in V105.2 are incorporated by reference in this document and are part of the requirements to the prescribed extent of each such reference.  The Director of the Federal Register has approved these standards for incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.  Copies of the referenced standards may be inspected at the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC  20004.

V105.2 Referenced Standards.  The specific edition of the standards listed below are referenced in this document.  Where differences occur between this document and the referenced standards, this document applies.

V105.2.1 ANSI/BHMA.  Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, 355 Lexington Avenue, 17th floor, New York, New York 10017 (http://www.buildershardware.com).

ANSI/BHMA A156.10-1999 American National Standard for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors (see V404.3).

ANSI/BHMA A156.19-1997 American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors (see V404.3 and V408.3.2.1).


ANSI/BHMA A156.19-2002 American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors (see V404.3 and V408.3.2.1).


Advisory V105.2.1 ANSI/BHMA.  ANSI/BHMA A156.10-1999 applies to power operated doors for pedestrian use which open automatically when approached by pedestrians.  Included are provisions intended to reduce the chance of user injury or entrapment.


ANSI/BHMA A156.19-1997 and A156.19-2002 applies to power assist doors, low energy power operated doors or low energy power open doors for pedestrian use not provided for in ANSI/BHMA A156.10 for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors.  Included are provisions intended to reduce the chance of user injury or entrapment.


V105.2.2 ASME.  Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Three Park Avenue, New York, New York 10016 (http://www.asme.org).


ASME A17.1- 2000 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, including ASME A17.1a-2002 Addenda and ASME A17.1b-2003 Addenda (see V407.1 and V408.1).


Advisory V105.2.2 ASME.  ASME A17.1-2000 is used for the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators and escalators.  The majority of the requirements apply to the operational machinery not seen or used by elevator passengers.  ASME A17.1 requires a two-way means of emergency communications in passenger elevators.  This means of communication must connect with emergency or authorized personnel and not an automated answering system.  The communication system must be push button activated.  The activation button must be permanently identified with the word “HELP.”  A visual indication acknowledging the establishment of a communications link to authorized personnel must be provided.  The visual indication must remain on until the call is terminated by authorized personnel.  The location in the vessel, the elevator car number, and the need for assistance must be provided to authorized personnel answering the emergency call.  The use of a handset by the communications system is prohibited.  Only the authorized personnel answering the call can terminate the call.  Operating instructions for the communications system must be provided in the elevator car.


V105.2.3 ASTM.  Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from the American Society for Testing and Materials, 100 Bar Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428 (http://www.astm.org).


ASTM F 1292-99 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment (see V1004.2.6.2).


ASTM F 1292-04 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment (see V1004.2.6.2).


ASTM F 1487-01 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use (see V106.5).


ASTM F 1951-99 Standard Specification for Determination of Accessibility of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment (see V1004.2.6.1).


V105.2.4 NFPA.  Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, Massachusetts 02169-7471 (http://www.nfpa.org).


NFPA 13 Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2002 Edition (see V207.3, V410.2, and V410.3).


V106 Definitions


V106.1 General.  For the purpose of this document, the terms defined in V106.5 have the indicated meaning.


Advisory V106.1 General.  Terms defined in section V106.5 are italicized in the text of this document. 


V106.2 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards. Terms not defined in V106.5 or in regulations issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act, but specifically defined in a referenced standard, shall have the specified meaning from the referenced standard unless otherwise stated.


V106.3 Undefined Terms.  The meaning of terms not specifically defined in V106.5 or in regulations issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act, or in US Coast Guard regulations, or in referenced standards shall be as defined by collegiate dictionaries in the sense that the context implies.

V106.4 Interchangeability.  Words, terms and phrases used in the singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the singular.

V106.5 Defined Terms.

Accessible.  A passenger vessel or portion thereof that complies with this part.

Addition.  An expansion, extension, or increase in the gross deck area or height of a passenger vessel.

Administrative Authority.  The US Coast Guard or other governmental agency that adopts or enforces regulations and guidelines for the design, construction, or alteration of passenger vessels.

Alteration.  A change to a passenger vessel that affects or could affect the usability of the passenger vessel or portion thereof.  Alterations 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.  Normal maintenance, painting or wallpapering, or changes to propulsion, mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the passenger vessel.

Area of Refuge.  An area that is separated from the effects of fire and flooding where passengers can gather in an emergency, and then if necessary be directed to an evacuation station for disembarking a vessel.

Area of Sport Activity.  That portion of a room or space where the play or practice of a sport occurs.

Area of Temporary Refuge.  An area where people who are unable to use stairs may remain temporarily to await further instructions or assistance during emergency evacuation.

Assembly Area.  A passenger vessel, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes.  For the purposes of these requirements, assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, passenger meeting rooms, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, and dinner theaters.

Assistive Listening System (ALS).  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, infrared, or direct-wired equipment.

Bulkhead Deck.  The upper most deck to which watertight bulkheads and the watertight shell extend.

Camber.  The curvature given to the weather deck surfaces to shed water readily, increase deck surface strength, and increase headroom clearance on the centerline for the deck below.  Also known as the rise or crown of a deck.

Catch Pool.  A pool or designated section of a pool used as a terminus for water slide flumes.

Characters.  Letters, numbers, punctuation marks and typographic symbols.

Children’s Use.  Describes spaces and elements specifically designed for use primarily by people 12 years old and younger.

Circulation Path.  An exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel, including but not limited to, weather deck areas, passageways, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways, and landings.

Closed-Circuit Telephone.  A telephone with a dedicated line such as a courtesy phone or phone that must be used to gain entry to a facility.

Coaming.  The vertical plating located at the base of a door for the purpose of stiffening the edges of the opening and resisting entry of water.

Cross Slope.  The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel (see running slope).

Curb Ramp.  A short ramp cutting through a curb or built up to it.

Deck.  A horizontal division of a passenger vesselwhich contains space designed for passenger occupancy and generally corresponds to a story in a building.  A horizontal division without enclosed space, such as a sundeck, is considered a deck even though it is not provided with a covering.  A deck containing one or more mezzanines has more than one deck level.

Element.  An architectural or mechanical component of a passenger vessel, facility, or space.

Elevated Play Component.  A play component that is approached above the ground level of the play area and that is part of a composite play structure consisting of two or more play components attached or functionally linked to create an integrated unit providing more than one play activity.

Entry Deck.  A deck which contains passenger entry and departure points which allow pedestrian passengers to embark or disembark a passenger vessel from fixed piers, floating piers or the land in non-emergency conditions.

Evacuation Station.  The end point in a path of escape travel on a passenger vessel.  Evacuation stations include life boat embarkation stations, life raft embarkation stations, or other places where passengers depart the vessel in an emergency.

Facility.  All or any portion of passenger vessels, structures, vessel improvements, elements, and pedestrian routes or vehicular ways located on a passenger vessel.

Ferry.  A vessel that: (1) operates in other than ocean or coastwise service, (2) has provisions only for deck passengers or vehicles, or both;  (3) operates on a short run on a frequent schedule between two points over the most direct water route; and (4) offers a public service of a type normally attributed to a bridge or tunnel.

Gangway.  A variable-sloped pedestrian walkway which consists of one or more runs.

Ground Level.  The level within a deck where a play area is located.

Ground Level Play Component.  A play component that is approached and exited at the ground level.

ITC.  International Tonnage Convention.

Mail Boxes.  Receptacles for the receipt of documents, packages, or other deliverable matter.

Mezzanine.  An intermediate level or levels between the deck surface and ceiling of any deck with an aggregate deck surface area of not more than one-third of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located.  Mezzanines have sufficient elevation that space for human occupancy can be provided on the deck level below.

Occupant Load.  The maximum number of persons that a space is permitted to accommodate. 

Operable Part.  A component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element.

Pictogram.  A pictorial symbol that represents activities, facilities, or concepts.

Play Area.  A portion of a passenger vesselcontaining play components designed and constructed for children.

Play Component.  An element intended to generate specific opportunities for play, socialization, or learning.  Play components are manufactured or part of the vessel; and are stand-alone or part of a composite play structure.

Public Seating Area.  An area, other than an assembly area, where fixed seats are provided for passengers and dining or work surfaces are not provided.


Qualified Historic Passenger Vessel.  A passenger vessel that is listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designated as historic under an appropriate State or local law.

Ramp.  A walking surface that has a running slope steeper than 1:20.

Running Slope.  The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel (see cross slope).

Sailing Vessel.  A vessel principally equipped for propulsion by sail even if the vessel has an auxiliary means of propulsion.

Sheer.  The fore-and-aft curvature from bow to stern of a ship’s deck surface as shown in side elevation.

Soft Contained Play Structure.  A play structure made up of one or more play components where the user enters a fully enclosed play environment that utilizes pliable materials, such as plastic, netting, or fabric.

SOLAS.  International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended, to which the United States Government is a party.

Space.  A definable area, such as a room, toilet room, corridor, assembly area, open deck area, storage room, alcove, or lobby

Structural Members.  The components of the passenger vessel that give it its inherent strength, integrity, and resistance to damage.  Examples include, but are not limited to, the keel, keelson, stem and stern posts, frames, longitudinals, structural decks, structural and fire protection bulkheads, gussets, stanchions, columns, girders, beams, knees, trusses, and hull plating and planking.

Tactile.  An object that can be perceived using the sense of touch.

Technically Infeasible.  With respect to an alteration of a passenger vessel, 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 minimum requirements.

Tender.  A vessel that transports passengers for non-emergency purposes between passenger vessels and shore side facilities.

Transition Plate.  A sloping pedestrian walkway located at the end(s) of a gangway, or between gangways segments on a telescoping gangway.

TTY.  An abbreviation for teletypewriter.  Machinery that employs interactive text-based communication through the transmission of coded signals across the telephone network.  TTYs may include, for example, devices known as TDDs (telecommunication display devices or telecommunication devices for deaf persons) or computers with special modems.  TTYs are also called text telephones.

Use Zone.  The area beneath and immediately adjacent to a play structure or play equipment that is designated by ASTM F 1487 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use (incorporated by reference, see “Referenced Standards” in Chapter 1) for unrestricted circulation around the play equipment and where it is predicted that a user would land when falling from or exiting the play equipment.

Vehicular Way.  A route provided for vehicular traffic.

Wheelchair Space.  Space for a single wheelchair and its occupant.