Washington, DC – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) released the following statement on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) hearing on the Conception boat fire.

“In response to the Conception boating tragedy, Senator Feinstein, Congressman Carbajal, and I introduced the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act (H.R. 5313/S. 3042), legislation to make common sense updates to the Coast Guard’s regulatory framework for vessels similar to the Conception, of which there are approximately 325 nationwide.

“Our bill would address many of the issues uncovered in the NTSB investigation. It would require small passenger vessels, like the Conception, to have no less than two avenues of escape to different parts of the vessel. It would mandate safety standards for the handling and storage of devices with lithium ion batteries (like phones, cameras, and other electronic equipment). It would also establish increased standards for interconnected fire alarm systems.

“Today’s meeting, during which NTSB reviewed its findings, underscored the critical importance of passing our legislation. It also underscored the critical importance of ensuring the Coast Guard enforces federal safety regulations.

“Additionally, while the House has passed the Small Passenger Vessel Safety Act, Congress’ work to address boat safety laws is not done. We owe it to the 34 individuals who lost their lives in this tragedy to get this legislation across the finish line and signed into law. We cannot allow such a tragedy to ever occur again.”


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