Bigger Americans means fewer passengers on boats

Expanding waistlines means Coast Guard has had to rewite the rules for passenger craft

The US Coast Guard has rewritten the rules on how many passengers a boat can carry due to the expanding waistlines of the average American.

The rules as they stand use the average of 160lb (11st 6lb) per passenger on craft such as ferries, tour boats and water taxis, but that standard was set back in the 1960s.

The new rules, to come into force in December, use the new average weight of 185 pounds (13st 3lb) per passenger, and will ultimately result in boats carrying fewer passengers.

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The big concern, a Coast Guard lieutenant told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, is that lots of overwight people move to one side of a boat at once, causing it to heel over.

By way of comparison, the average weight used in UK regulations for such boats is 165lb (11st 11lb) per passenger – so according to the rules we remain heavier than the average American, until December that is.

“Over the decades people have gotten bigger and they weigh more, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, so the Coast Guard regulations were adjusted to reflect that,” a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

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