Originally published in the Ventura County Star.

“Reps. Julia Brownley and Salud Carbajal joined Sen. Dianne Feinstein in proposing tighter safety standards for small boats after the Conception dive vessel caught fire, killing 34 people off the Ventura County coast in September.

Only five people — the captain and four crew members — managed to escape after the 75-foot Conception caught fire Sept. 2 near Santa Cruz Island. One crew member was among the dead, and the rest were diving enthusiasts. All of those who died were in the bunk area below deck.

On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced a proposed measure called the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act that would, among other things, require two escape routes for people below decks, leading to different parts of the boat. Brownley, D-Westlake Village, and Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, co-authored the bill with Feinstein, introducing the companion measure in the House.” …

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