Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley announced Friday that the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act was included in the in the final version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
The provision would require new safety measures for small passenger vessels. This comes after the deadly Conception boat fire in waters off California's Santa Cruz Island in September 2019.
Here is what the bill would do:
· Requires boats like the Conception to have no less than two means of escape to different parts of the vessel.
· Mandates safety standards for the handling and storage of phones, cameras and other electronic devices with lithium ion batteries.
· Establishes stricter standards for interconnected fire alarm systems.
· Requires monitoring devices to ensure the wakefulness of the required night watch.
A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report found that smoke alarms on the vessel only sounded locally and were not interconnected throughout the vessel, so the crew above decks weren't alerted.
Many of the passengers are believed to have died from smoke inhalation in the bunkroom because flames were blocking an emergency exit.
"Nothing can ever make up for the loss we experienced that day, but I'm proud to honor the memory of the 34 lives lost by working to make sure a similar tragedy never happens again. I look forward to seeing this crucial bill signed into law," said Representative Carbajal.
"The Conception boat fire should never have resulted in such a devastating tragedy. It could have been prevented with just a few simple safety measures in place," said Senator Feinstein.