President Clinton signed
the USCG Authorization Act (H.R. 2204) of 1998 last month, which includes the Rail Jumper Safety Amendment. This law makes it illegal for persons aboard passenger vessels to jump overboard, which interferes with the safe operation of a vessel.
The issue of unruly passengers, which has been a problem for many operators of passenger vessels, has increased with the popularity of cruises, due to the blockbuster movie, Titanic. However, up until now, passenger vessel operators and law enforcement officials have been unable to prosecute rail jumpers that endanger life, limb or property by jumping off vessels.
This House-sponsored legislation empowers the USCG to penalize jumpers up to $1,000 for interfering with the safe operation of a vessel.