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November 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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New Fire Safety Regulations Coming for US Liveaboards

from the November, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The U.S. Coastguard is reviewing new safety regulations following the disastrous Conception fire, including eliminating double bunks where one occupant is against a cabin wall, making it difficult for that person to exit in an emergency. While current regulations require one crew member to be on night watch, this might be increased to two.

Ken Kollwitz, the owner of California's Channel Islands Adventure's MV Magician, said the single-bunk-only rule would reduce the capacity of his 65-foot vessel from 20 to 14, with a resulting 20 percent increase in price. Requiring a two-person night watch would also increase costs.

Kollwitz says that passengers may no longer bring hard dive cases aboard as they could block escape routes. Anything with a lithium battery must be stored in a fireproof container, and divers may not charge batteries between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The MV Spectre, which is based in Ventura, CA, will no longer make overnight trips. Its owner, Ted Cummings, said that divers "no longer feel comfortable in a bunk room."

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