It seems the U.S. Coast Guard is feeling the weight of the American population’s widened waistlines. The service has recently changed its regulations regarding the amount of weight—and number of passengers—allowed aboard seafaring vessels. Information published in the Federal Register (2010; 75 , 78063-92) states, “The maximum number of persons permitted on a vessel is in need of an update partly because the average American weighs significantly more than the Assumed Average Weight per Person (AAWPP) used in [the former] regulations.” The new regulation, which will go into effect December 1, 2011, has increased its AAWPP from 160 pounds to 185 pounds. According to the Coast Guard, the amended passenger limits are required for improved vessel safety and stability. “Over time, as passenger weight increases, the inherent margin of safety decreases across all measures of stability, including vertical center of gravity, freeboard and passenger heeling moment, increasing the risk of stability problems.”
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