Fire Technology

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 1471–1478 | Cite as

A Survey of Transient Fire Load on Passenger Ferry Vessels

  • Brian M. Hall
  • Michael J. Gollner
Short Communication


Aluminum ferries in the United States are unique in that they have policy requirements limiting the weight of luggage carried per fixed passenger seat, which is accomplished by controlling the weight of baggage per passenger, but no means to enforce this requirement. A survey of passenger ferry vessels was performed to determine the type of baggage loading present in these passenger compartments. The type, carriage rate, and weight were recorded to determine the transient fire load as well as the average weight of luggage brought on board. The average baggage weight for the commuter vs. non-commuter ferries surveyed in this study were found to be 2.8 and 3.7 kg per person, respectively. These numbers are in close agreement with the average weight per person calculated for carriage on trains. Survey data indicates that the current average baggage weight of 3.7 kg exceeds that allowed by Coast Guard policy for 93% of vessels, with the remaining 7% falling within the policy requirements due to unusually low seat density in the main passenger compartment. This highlights a potential pitfall in current regulatory standards that may present a mismatch for performance and prescriptive based requirements. As few baggage surveys have been conducted on commuter vessels, this data which includes both number and weight distributions per baggage type may also be useful for transient fire load calculations in the future.


Ferry Fire load Baggage Aluminum Transient 



The authors would like to thank Rick Nolan of Boston Harbor Cruises, Christian Myers and William McCombe of Interstate Navigation, Greg Gifford of Woods Hole Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, and the captains and crews of the surveyed vessels for their assistance during the course of this research. The authors would also like to acknowledge John Duclos of Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding for providing builder information on aluminum vessels and Carl Moberg, Tom Woodford, LT Noel Shriner, LCDR John Miller, and all the other Coast Guard personnel who provided valuable comments. BH would like to acknowledge the US Coast Guard for funding this effort while at the University of Maryland.

Supplementary material

10694_2016_629_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Coast GuardWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Fire Protection EngineeringUniversity of Maryland, College ParkCollege ParkUSA

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