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Safety Reforms For Small Passenger Vessels Being Implemented In Wake Of Deadly Channel Islands Fire

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(Ventura County Fire Department photo)
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The September 2019 Conception dive boat fire in the Channel Islands killed 34 people. It's led to some new safety reforms for small passenger vessels.

The Coast Guard is implementing a number of safety reforms mandated by Congress in the wake of the deadly September, 2019 dive boat fire in the Channel Islands which killed 34 people.  The new regulations apply to small passenger boats. 

They include a requirement that there be a interconnected smoke detector system in all sleeping area.  It mandates two escape routes from below deck accommodations.  And, it strengthens rules that roving night patrols be maintained so any fires would be detected sooner.

Federal investigators say a failure to have widespread alarms, and a lack of a roving patrol allowed the fire on board the Conception allowed a fire on board to spread to the point where it trapped its victims below deck. 

Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal of Santa Barbara co-authored the legislation signed into law January 1st which requires the Coast Guard to toughen safety requirements.