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With heavier passengers, boats will carry fewer people

Heavier passengers are the cause of a rules change by the Coast Guard that will affect tour boats, ferries and water taxis.

The Coast Guard is adjusting occupancy regulations to reflect the fact that Americans weigh more than they did in the 1960s, when earlier rules were set. The standard weight per passenger for American-flagged boats will be calculated at 185 pounds, rather than 160 pounds, beginning Dec. 1.

"Over the decades people have gotten bigger and they weigh more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so the Coast Guard regulations were adjusted to reflect that," Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak said.

With passengers tipping the scale, the new rule will mean that boats have to carry fewer people.

The concern is stability and what might happen if heavy passengers all moved to one side of a vessel, a Coast Guard official tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Click here for the final rule change.

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