Revised regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act, including standards for making boating facilities accessible, went into effect Tuesday.
The new rules are the Department of Justice's first major revision of its guidance on accessibility in 20 years.
The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state and local government and more than 7 million places of public accommodation, including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sports arenas, movie theaters, doctors' and dentists' offices, hotels, jails and prisons, polling places and emergency preparedness shelters.
The 2010 standards also include, for the first time, standards on making swimming pools, parks, golf courses, boating facilities, exercise clubs and other recreation facilities accessible for people with disabilities.
Places covered by the law have until March 15, 2012 to comply with the 2010 standards.
"The new rules usher in a new day for the more than 50 million individuals with disabilities in this country," assistant attorney general for civil rights Thomas Perez said in a statement. "The rules will expand accessibility in a number of areas and, for the first time, provide detailed guidance on how to make recreation facilities, including parks and swimming pools, accessible."