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Coast Guard: Americans getting fatter

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  April 5, 2011 11:44 AM

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In case you need more evidence that Americans are tipping those scales a bit harder the US Coast Guard is cutting the number of passengers allowed on passenger vessels. Since the 1960s the Coast Guard assumed a standard weight of 160 pounds for an average boat passenger in making safety rules for commercial vessel operators, according to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

But given that these days an estimated 34 percent of adults over 20 are overweight the Coast Guard has opted, far safety's sake, to assume that the average passenger is a bit heavier than back in the day. "People weigh significantly more now," Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak told the newspaper. "The average weight per person has increased to 185 pounds."

The new rules will kick in Dec. 1. Basically what this means is that a boat with a 16,000-pound capacity, which formerly could have carried 100 passengers, will only be allowed to ferry 86 people. The limits won't affect personal boaters but will affect vessels that require an annual Coast Guard inspection like ferries, sightseeing or excursion boats.

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