MRAA Supports Change in Recreational Boat Definition in Longshore Act
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Posted by: Michael Geatz
MRAA supports H.R. 3896, a bill
introduced on January 16, 2014 by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, to amend the
Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act to provide a definition of
recreational vessel that is a better and clearer application of the Longshore
Act to marinas and insurance companies providing service work on recreational
boats. There are seven co-sponsors so
far. The bill has been referred to the
House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
No action has been scheduled by the Committee.
years ago, the boating industry united in supporting a revision to the Longshore Act to eliminate
the need for marinas working on recreational boats to carry both state worker’s
compensation and federal Longshore insurance on its workers. The Labor Department received 50 comments on
definition of recreational boat during its rulemaking stage of that revision
bill, but those recommendations were negated by the Department and went with the
Title 46 definition, as amended by several other legal sources. Problems arose almost immediately with
insurers saying the definition is too complicated and withdrew the sale of
insurance. Longshore insurance generally
costs about four times as much as worker’s compensation and for recreational
marinas both would still be required.
Labor Department has refused to re-open the Longshore rule saying an act of
Congress is needed to make any change.
3896 is a simple bill that defines recreational boat as 1.) a vessel being
manufactured or operated primarily for pleasure, or 2.) leased, rented, or
chartered to another for the latter’s pleasure.
In addition, the bill says a vessel will be treated as a recreational
vessel if it is a public vessel or a boat owned by the USA, a state, or
political subdivision and is not normally engaged in the military or commercial
action has yet occurred on the bill.