Cruise Ships to Accommodate Fatter Passengers

The U.S. Coast Guard is the last to acknowledge that people on boats are fatter than they were in 1960.

So while cruise ships nixed armrests and installed wider seats years ago, the U.S. Coast Guard has just gotten around to raising the Assumed Average Weight Per Person from 160 to 180 pounds last month.

Despite the weight increase, some cruise ships are shifting from all-you-can-eat buffets to entice gourmands by hiring chef consultants such as Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine, David Burke, and Charlie Trotter to shape onboard dining. Holland America hired a team of celebrity chefs in January of 2011, while Schwartz debuted menus for 150 Central Park on the Oasis of the Seas last October.

The weight was determined via the average weights of men and women as

determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2004,

which was 165 pounds for women and 195 pounds for men.

To comply with the new guidelines, boats have dropped maximum capacity, reports the New York Times in "Bulk's Not Just in Bulkhead, So Coast Guard Steps In." One of the largest ferries in the world, the Seattle-based Wenachee, previously held 2,000 and now peaks at 1,700.

The rules affect the revenue small boats under 65 feet most, though

the Coast Guard Office of Vessel Activities says the transition has been in effect since 2006, the year after 20 people died when a boat sank on

an upstate New York lake tour.

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