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Obesity rise prompts Wash. ferries capacity change
Americans' weight gain prompts change to Washington state ferry system capacity guidelines
By The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) ' The collective weight gain of Americans is pushing the U.S. Coast Guard to change the passenger capacities of Washington state's ferries.

Under the old guidelines issued by the Coast Guard, the average person was thought to weigh between 140 and 160 pounds. But now the average American scales in at about 185 pounds.

That weight spike forced some recalculations. For example, the ferry Yakima's old passenger limit was 2,000 people. Now, it's 1,783.

State officials say passengers shouldn't see too many changes from the new capacity guidelines because boats rarely reach full capacity.

Still, Coast Guard Lt. Kirk Beckman told KOMO News (http://bit.ly/sV5EOf) the change is about safety. They don't want overloaded ferries to capsize.

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