46 U.S. Code § 3503 - Fire-retardant materials
Historical and Revision Notes
Source section (U.S. Code)
Section 3503 requires the use of fire retardant materials on a vessel having berthing facilities for at least 50 passengers. This requirement in the case of vessels engaged in foreign trade is consistent with our international treaty obligations, which impose extensive and additional fire safety standards. A waiver that grandfathers existing inland river passenger vessels is also included.
2018—Pub. L. 115–282 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows:
“(a) A passenger vessel of the United States having berth or stateroom accommodations for at least 50 passengers shall be granted a certificate of inspection only if the vessel is constructed of fire-retardant materials. Before November 1, 2008, this section does not apply to any vessel in operation before January 1, 1968, and operating only within the Boundary Line.
“(b)(1) When a vessel is exempted from the fire-retardant standards of this section—
“(A) the owner or managing operator of the vessel shall notify prospective passengers that the vessel does not comply with applicable fire safety standards due primarily to the wooden construction of passenger berthing areas;
“(B) the owner or managing operator of the vessel may not disclaim liability to a passenger for death, injury, or any other loss caused by fire due to the negligence of the owner or managing operator;
“(C) the penalties provided in section 3504(c) of this title apply to a violation of this subsection; and
“(D) the owner or managing operator of the vessel shall notify the Coast Guard of structural alterations to the vessel, and with regard to those alterations comply with any noncombustible material requirements that the Coast Guard prescribes for nonpublic spaces. Coast Guard requirements shall be consistent with preservation of the historic integrity of the vessel in areas carrying or accessible to passengers or generally visible to the public.
“(2) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations under this subsection on the manner in which prospective passengers are to be notified.”
1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–324 substituted “Before November 1, 2008, this section does not apply to any vessel in operation before January 1, 1968, and operating only within the Boundary Line.” for “Before November 1, 1998, this section does not apply to a vessel in operation before January 1, 1968, and operating only on the inland rivers.”
1991—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–241, § 20(1), substituted “1998” for “1993”.
Subsec. (b)(1)(D). Pub. L. 102–241, § 20(2), added subpar. (D).
1986—Pub. L. 99–307 designated existing provision as subsec. (a), substituted “November 1, 1993” for “November 1, 1988” and inserted “in operation before January 1, 1968, and” after “to a vessel”, and added subsec. (b).
For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.
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