Statement of NTSB Chair on Coast Guard Rules to Improve Small Passenger Vessel Safety

12/30/2021

​​​WASHINGTON (Dec. 30, 2021) — “The Coast Guard’s interim rules addressing the recommendations the NTSB issued following its investigation of the deadly Labor Day 2019 fire aboard the Conception are a welcome step towards improving the safety of passengers and crew on small passenger vessels,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy.

On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its intention to issue a set of interim rules on certain covered small passenger vessels. The rules address many of the safety recommendations the NTSB issued as a result of its investigation of the September 2, 2019, fire aboard the marine vessel Conception. The fire, which occurred in the middle of the night while the boat was anchored off the California coast near Santa Barbara, killed 33 passengers and one crewmember. 

The provisions include marine fire detection, suppression and firefighting; emergency egress; and the handling and storage of flammable items.

“Although there is more work to be done, including the implementation of safety management systems for passenger vessel operations, we are encouraged by the Coast Guard’s actions and look forward to reviewing the interim rules,” Homendy said.

In part due to the Conception fire, improving passenger and fishing vessel safety was added to the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements in April 2021. Details about this safety issue and related recommendations are available at https://go.usa.gov/xt3fW​.

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).