For roughly the last fifty years, the US Coast Guard regulations for the loading and stability of passenger vessels has assumed an average weight of 160 pounds per person. Conceding to the reality of a more corpulent population, the regulations were updated last month, increasing the Assumed Average Weight per Person by 25 pounds, to 185 pounds. So far the impact, particularly on larger vessels, has been small. The Washington State ferry boat Wenatchee, which previously was rated for 2,000 people, can now legally hold about 1,700, which is not an issue as the ferry generally operates no where close to full passenger capacity. Likewise in New York harbor, the World Yacht and Circle Line cruises, deliberately operate at about 50 percent of capacity, about 300 people, to make for a roomier, more pleasant experience according to Jason Hackett, a company spokesman.
Smaller vessel owners who may be impacted by the change, are considering new stability tests and revised passenger calculations to maintain their current capacity.