New US law threatens dive operators

New US law threatens dive operators

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The new liability requirement is already causing the cost of passenger vessel liability insurance to substantially increase, and threatening to put many operators throughout the industry out of business.

The liability requirement was included in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Lawmakers had been led to believe that Section 11503 of the NDAA was simply a “fix for the families who lost loved ones” in the tragic Conception Dive Boat fire of 2019, DEMA writes.

But the new law goes far beyond one tragedy—it lines the pockets of trial lawyers and does nothing to make sure dive boats are operating safely. 

Already, the cost of passenger vessel liability insurance has started increasing substantially, threatening the business of many dive operators, warns DEMA. 

According to DEMA, dive vessel operators around the US started reporting exponential increases in their premiums in December 2022 as insurers cited this new law. Consequently, dive vessel operators will have no choice but to pass on these added costs to their customers and increase their rates.

What can be done?

A new US Congress has just been seated and therefore there is still hope for repeal, the trade organization writes in a newsletter. DEMA, therefore, asks that American businesses reach out to their two US Senators and US House Representative to educate them about the true impact of the law on both their business and the industry as a whole.