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ADA 2010 Standards

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235 and 1003 Recreational Boating Facilities

These sections require that accessible boat slips and boarding piers be provided. Most commenters approved of the requirements for recreational boating facility accessibility and urged the Department to keep regulatory language consistent with those provisions. They commented that the requirements appropriately reflect industry conditions. Individual commenters and disability organizations agreed that the 2010 Standards achieve acceptable goals for recreational boating facility access.

Accessible Route. Sections 206.2.10 and 1003.2 of the 2010 Standards require an accessible route to all accessible boating facilities, including boat slips and boarding piers at boat launch ramps. Section 1003.2.1 provides a list of exceptions applicable to structures such as gangways, transition plates, floating piers, and structures containing combinations of these elements that are affected by water level changes. The list of exceptions specifies alternate design requirements applicable to these structures which, because of water level variables, cannot comply with the slope, cross slope, and handrail requirements for fixed ramps contained in sections 403.3, 405.2, 405.3, 405.6, and 405.7 of the 2010 Standards. Exceptions 3 and 4 in Section 1003.2.1, which permit a slope greater than that specified in Section 405.2, are available for structures that meet specified length requirements. Section 206.7.10 permits the use of platform lifts as an alternative to gangways that are part of accessible routes.

Commenters raised concerns that because of water level fluctuations it may be difficult to provide accessible routes to all accessible boating facilities, including boat slips and boarding piers at boat launch ramps. One of the specific concerns expressed by several commenters relates to the limits for running slope permitted on gangways that are part of an accessible route as gangways may periodically have a steeper slope than is permitted for a fixed ramp. The exceptions contained in section 1003.2 of the 2010 Standards modify the requirements of Chapter 4. For example, where the total length of a gangway or series of gangways serving as an accessible route is 80 feet or more an exception permits the slope on gangways to exceed the maximum slope in section 405.2.

Some commenters suggested that permissible slope variations could be reduced further by introducing a formula that ties required gangway length to anticipated water level fluctuations. Such a formula would incorporate predictions of tidal level changes such as those issued by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS). This suggested approach would be an alternative to the gangway length exceptions and limits in section 1003.2.1 of the 2010 Standards. These commenters noted that contemporary building materials and techniques make gangways of longer length and alternative configurations achievable. These commenters provided at least one example of a regional regulatory authority using this type of formula. While this approach may be successfully implemented and consistent with the goals of the ADA, the example provided was applied in a highly developed area containing larger facilities. The Department has considered that many facilities do not have sufficient resources available to take advantage of the latest construction materials and design innovations. Other commenters supported compliance exceptions for facilities that are subject to extreme tidal conditions. One commenter noted that if a facility is located in an area with limited space and extreme tidal variations, a disproportionately long gangway might intrude into water travel routes. The Department has considered a wide range of boating facility characteristics including size, water surface areas, tidal fluctuations, water conditions, variable resources, whether the facility is in a highly developed or remote location, and other factors. The Department has determined that the 2010 Standards provide sufficient flexibility for such broad application. Additionally, the length requirement for accessible routes in section 1003.2.1 provides an easily determinable compliance standard.

Accessible Boarding Piers. Where boarding piers are provided at boat launch ramps, sections 235.3 and 1003.3.2 of the 2010 Standards require that at least five percent (5%) of boarding piers, but at least one, must be accessible.

Accessible Boat Slips. Sections 235.2 and 1003.3.1 of the 2010 Standards require that a specified number of boat slips in each recreational boating facility meet specified accessibility standards. The number of accessible boat slips required by the 2010 Standards is set out in a chart in section 235.2. One accessible boat slip is required for facilities containing 25 or fewer total slips. The number of required accessible boat slips increases with the total number of slips at the facility. Facilities containing more than one thousand (1000) boat slips are required to provide twelve (12) accessible boat slips plus one for each additional one hundred slips at the facility.

One commenter asserted the need for specificity in the requirement for dispersion of accessible slips. Section 235.2.1 of the 2010 Standards addresses dispersion and requires that boat slips "shall be dispersed throughout the various types of boat slips provided." The commenter was concerned that if a marina could not put accessible slips all on one pier, it would have to reconstruct the entire facility to accommodate accessible piers, gangways, docks and walkways. The provision permits required accessible boat slips to be grouped together. The Department recognizes that economical and structural feasibility may produce this result. The 2010 Standards do not require the dispersion of the physical location of accessible boat slips. Rather, the dispersion must be among the various types of boat slips offered by the facility. Section 235.2.1 of the 2010 Standards specifies that if the required number has been met, no further dispersion is required. For example, if a facility offers five different ´types´ of boat slips but is only required to provide three according to the table in Section 235.2, that facility is not required to provide more than three accessible boat slips, but the three must be varied among the five ´types´ of boat slips available at the facility.

235 Recreational Boating Facilities

235.1 General. Recreational boating facilities shall comply with 235.

235.2 Boat Slips. Boat slips complying with 1003.3.1 shall be provided in accordance with Table 235.2. Where the number of boat slips is not identified, each 40 feet (12 m) of boat slip edge provided along the perimeter of the pier shall be counted as one boat slip for the purpose of this section.

Table 235.2 Boat Slips

Total Number of Boat Slips Provided in Facility

Minimum Number of Required Accessible Boat Slips

1 to 25


26 to 50


51 to 100


101 to 150


151 to 300


301 to 400


401 to 500


501 to 600


601 to 700


701 to 800


801 to 900


901 to 1000


1001 and over

12, plus 1 for every 100, or fraction thereof, over 1000

Advisory 235.2 Boat Slips. The requirement for boat slips also applies to piers where boat slips are not demarcated. For example, a single pier 25 feet (7620 mm) long and 5 feet (1525 mm) wide (the minimum width specified by Section 1003.3) allows boats to moor on three sides. Because the number of boat slips is not demarcated, the total length of boat slip edge (55 feet, 17 m) must be used to determine the number of boat slips provided (two). This number is based on the specification in Section 235.2 that each 40 feet (12 m) of boat slip edge, or fraction thereof, counts as one boat slip. In this example, Table 235.2 would require one boat slip to be accessible.

235.2.1 Dispersion. Boat slips complying with 1003.3.1 shall be dispersed throughout the various types of boat slips provided. Where the minimum number of boat slips required to comply with 1003.3.1 has been met, no further dispersion shall be required.

Advisory 235.2.1 Dispersion. Types of boat slips are based on the size of the boat slips; whether single berths or double berths, shallow water or deep water, transient or longer-term lease, covered or uncovered; and whether slips are equipped with features such as telephone, water, electricity or cable connections. The term "boat slip" is intended to cover any pier area other than launch ramp boarding piers where recreational boats are moored for purposes of berthing, embarking, or disembarking. For example, a fuel pier may contain boat slips, and this type of short term slip would be included in determining compliance with 235.2.

235.3 Boarding Piers at Boat Launch Ramps. Where boarding piers are provided at boat launch ramps, at least 5 percent, but no fewer than one, of the boarding piers shall comply with 1003.3.2.