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Heavier Passengers Weigh Down Bay Area Ferries, Tour Boats

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Coast Guard has been boarding ferries, tour boats and other vessels around the Bay Area to make sure they're in compliance with new federal capacity restrictions which are based on the country's increasingly heavier population.

There is a mathematical calculation used to determine the maximum amount of weight allowed on vessels, which is then divided by an assumed average weight per person to come up with capacity limitations. The problem, according to Coast Guard Lt. Junior Grade Liezel Nicolas, is that the previous assumed average weight was determined in 1960.

"To have vessels out operating with passengers under an assumed average weight of 160 pounds is really inaccurate for what Americans truly weigh now," Nicolas.

The new standards, using information from the CDC, update the assumed average weight per person to 185 pounds.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

"For some ferries this is reducing their passenger count," said Nicolas.

However, Nicolas said that operators knew years ago the change was coming, and had already adjusted their vessels. Many commercial boat operators rarely operate at maximum capacity and don't expect the new numbers to result in much of a change in day-to-day business.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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