NMMA says new rule could open way for lifejacket reform

April 2011 News
The United States Coast Guard yesterday published a direct final rule that removes exclusivity for Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as the only USCG approved lab to test inflatable lifejackets. The National Marine Manufacturers Association called the move a "positive movement in support of more innovative lifejackets and lifejacket options for boaters." 

"The rulemaking signals that the USCG is seriously considering approving an inflatable lifejacket standard that will remove the bar on inflatable life jackets for youth ages 16 and under," the NMMA reported in a statement. "Such a move, if taken by the USCG, will encourage youth lifejacket wear as a result of the innovative design and comfort benefits of inflatable lifejackets. The rulemaking comes as a result of much work by the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA), in conjunction with the NMMA." 

Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA, thanked PFDMA for their work on the issue. 

"NMMA thanks the PFDMA for their continued work to bring life jacket approval regulatory reform to the table and applauds the USCG's response and efforts to begin moving forward on addressing regulatory reform," Dammrich said in a statement. "We're encouraged by the steps the USCG is taking to not only expand the laboratories approved to test lifejackets but to evaluate inflatable lifejacket wear among youth. While much work remains to be done to adequately encourage life jacket innovation and wear, these efforts are a solid first step. Ultimately, moving forward with lifejacket regulatory reform will result in more innovative and cost effective lifejackets for consumers, increasing wear." 

The full rulemaking is available here. 

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