By Maura Keller
For over 25 years, Congress has exempted the vast majority of the recreational marine industry from the coverage of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation program when those workers were already covered under a state’s workmans’ compensation program. “The reason for this exemption was Congressional recognition that the risks associated with recreational boat production line manufacturing were adequately addressed under state workmans’ compensation regimes,” says Cindy Squires. “Congress recognized this different risk profile and provided an exemption for the build, dismantling and repair of recreational vessels under 65 feet from LHWCA. The recent amendment to this longstanding exemption occurred because those involved in the repair of recreational vessels found that the sizes of the boats have increased over the years and there was a need to expand the exemption to accommodate these larger vessels.” Legislation, such as the Recreational Marine Employment Act, was sought by the marine industry for a number of years and was finally passed by Congress in 2009.