House Passes Coast Guard Authorization Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The bill includes a provision that would mandate the wearing of engine cut-off devices for operators of boats under 26 feet while under way—a safety measure that law enforcement, manufacturers, and the recreational boating community support. This measure builds upon the steps taken two years ago when Congress required manufacturers to install these devices in most boats under 26 feet.

Additionally, the bill would grant the Coast Guard “equivalency” authority to streamline approval of the recreational boating industry construction standards and new technologies.

Although the House had passed similar legislation in 2019, the U.S. Senate was unable to reach an agreement at that time. House and Senate leaders have spent the past several months negotiating the new agreement, which is expected to move forward in the Senate.