Thanks to Representative Aaron Bean (R-FL) for Introducing the DIVE BOAT Act

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Thanks to Representative Aaron Bean (R-FL) for Introducing the DIVE BOAT Act

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Press Release

DEMA wishes to publicly thank Representative Aaron Bean (R-FL, District 04) for his work in introducing the DIVE BOAT Act amendment to Section 11503 of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, the Small Passenger Vessel Act (SPVA). 

The SPVA is largely responsible for disrupting the insurance market, causing explosive increases in vessel and other insurance costs specifically targeting the recreational diving industry. Here is a link to the Congressman’s biography.  

The genesis of the SPVA, the tragic and horrific loss of life resulting from a fire aboard the overnight vessel Conception, appears to have been caused by crew members’ violations of U.S. Coast Guard rules. No law or regulation can stop bad behavior, and bad actors should face consequences for their decisions. 

Unfortunately, the broad scope of the SPVA language is harming the entire diving industry. It is diverting hard-earned and limited resources from necessary boat maintenance, safety equipment, and staff training to pay for exponential increases in insurance premiums in the event of a lawsuit.

The insurance cost increases are hurting many of DEMA’s small business members. One operator in West Palm Beach, Florida reported a $160,000 increase in their store and vessel liability coverage cost. They are now paying nearly 10% of their annual cash receipts on insurance. 

Another reported a $25,000 increase for his two small vessels –more than double what was paid last year. An operator in Hawaii reported a $40,000 insurance cost increase, and a dive and travel shop with no vessels in Washington, DC reported a $40,000 increase. We have also heard from boat owners who cannot get insurance to operate. 

These sharp price increases are threatening the livelihood and families of owners and employees. Many of the operators have been forced to pass the cost increases to consumers. We do not believe this was the intent and outcome lawmakers were hoping for when Congress enacted SPVA.

As a member of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation, in the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Representative Bean introduced the DIVE BOAT Act amendment in 2023 and is helping us create a bipartisan fix to this issue, while continuing to search for the correct legislative vehicle for this important amendment.

On behalf of a grateful industry, DEMA thanks Representative Bean for his willingness to work with us and consider the amendment we developed with input from insurance actuaries. 

Representative Bean believes that the draft language we have shared with the committee staff will ensure bad actors are held accountable, while significantly easing the burden of unfair cost increases for those who follow the rules.

Representative Bean’s Office may be contacted directly:

1239 Longworth House Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515