"The United States Coast Guard has scaled back the maximum number of passengers allowed on a given ferry, resulting in a lower maximum capacity rate for commercial vessels such as the Savannah Belles Ferry.
According to documents provided to CBS Atlanta by the U.S. Coast Guard, the final rule for the “Passenger Weight and Inspected Vessel Stability Requirements” amendment goes into effect in March of 2012.
All companies in ownership of such vessels must make all applicable mandatory alterations before that time.
The aforementioned documents state that the final rule was passed to avoid any potential safety issues caused by the excessive strain of larger human cargo.
“The Coast Guard amends its regulations governing the maximum weight and number of passengers that may safely be permitted on board a vessel and other stability regulations, including increasing the Assumed Average Weight per Person … to 185 lb.,” the document states. “Updating regulations to more accurately reflect today’s average weight per person will maintain intended safety levels by accounting for this weight increase.”"