ABYC Standards Update


The updated version of the 2009–2010 American Boat & Yacht Council Standards has been sent to members and is available on ABYC’s Web site, www.abycinc.org.

For those of you who have not read the new manual, I’ve summarized the major revisions, amendments, and additions below. This report is purely informative and is not to be used in place of reading the complete standard when determining compliance. If you purchased the ABYC Standards on CD, are an ABYC member who can access Web-STIR, or have a subscription to Rulefinder.net, you’ll be able to view convenient and complete Comparison Reports for these documents.

Amended standards include:

  • ABYC E-11 AC & DC Electrical Systems on Boats
  • ABYC/ANS H-24 Gasoline Fuel Systems
  • ABYC/ANS H-33 Diesel Fuel Systems
  • ABYC/ANS H-41 Reboarding Means, Ladders, Handholds, Rails, and Lifelines and
  • ABYC/ANS P-1 Installation of Exhaust Systems for Propulsion and Auxiliary Engines

(“ANS” indicates that the standard is approved by the American National Standards Institute.)


ABYC/ANS H-24, Gasoline Fuel Systems 2009
Previous Version: 2007
The change to this standard meets new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements for fuel distribution hose in the recreational marine industry. Previously, fuel distribution line could be either USCG A-1, or B-1 (“1” designates that hose permeation did not exceed 100 g/m—24hrs). The current federal regulation (40 CFR, Part 1060) requires this permeation to be 15 g/m—24hrs. The revised H-24 reflects that change: all distribution lines must be A-1-15, or B-1-15.

The other significant change is the addition of a Global Compliance Appendix. This gives users who comply with ABYC H-24 the information and measures they need to comply with requirements posted by the International Organization for Standardization, better known as ISO. New ABYC digital formats contain relevant U.S. Coast Guard regulations and new EPA regulations for reference. Many additional regulations will need to be incorporated into H-24 over the next several years, so stay tuned.


H-33, Diesel Fuel Systems 2009
Previous Version: 2005
USCG type-B hose has returned to the standard as an acceptable application (when it meets the installation criteria listed in the standard). Also, the Global Compliance Appendix for diesel fuel has been added.

H-41, Reboarding Means, Ladders, Handholds, Rails, and Lifelines 2009
Previous Version: 2006
The standard was updated to clarify requirements. For example, the ambiguous descriptions “grab rails” or “deck rails” do not suffice at the periphery of weather decks intended to be occupied at speeds greater than 5 mph. Options for what is allowed in this application are listed at H-41.6.

Significantly, the change in elevation requiring a step has increased from 12” to 19.7”, and the rise in steps must also be consistent within 0.25”. I recommend that you read this standard closely all the way through and, if necessary, contact the ABYC technical department, which can assist you.

P-1, Installation of Exhaust Systems for Propulsion and Auxiliary Engines 2009
Previous Version: 2002
In the materials section in Table I, aluminum is now acceptable in some applications; it was not previously allowed in diesel wet-exhaust systems. Also, pay close attention to section, which specifies that if you’re using a water-diverting valve to optimize system performance, you must ensure that this valve is made non-adjustable, and then label it as such. That valve should never be intentionally or accidentally opened, closed, or adjusted!

E-11, AC and DC Electrical Systems on Boats 2008
Technically Amended 2009; Previous Version: 2003
The 2009 amendment, which specifically applies to an Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter device, or ELCI, will appear as a note in the standard’s leading paragraph and the actual section E-11.11.1, as follows:

“NOTE July 2009 Technical Amendment: Based on ABYC’s assessment of the existing technology regarding the Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter (ELCI), E-11.11.1 and its subparts carry a recommended compliance date of July 31, 2010.”

The wording means the recommended compliance date for section E-11.11.1 has been extended by one year to July 31, 2010. The ELCI device is a new concept, but based on existing technologies. While several manufacturers are committed to producing ELCI units that meet the needs of boatbuilders and the requirements of E-11’s 2008 version, ABYC’s Technical Board of Directors and the Electrical Project Technical Committee agree that an additional year is needed to incorporate 30-, 50-, and 100-amp ELCI units into boats.

The recommended compliance date for all other portions of the July 2008 version of E-11 remains July 31, 2009. E-11 is on a three-year review cycle and will be re-published again in July 2011.

Two completely new additions to ABYC Standards & Technical Information Reports are:

  • ABYC/ANS A-33 Emergency Engine/Propulsion Cut-Off Devices, and
  • ABYC/ANS TE-30 Electric Propulsion Systems.


ABYC/ANS A-33 Emergency Engine/Propulsion Cut-Off Devices 2009
1st Publication
Here is a guide for the design, construction, installation, and performance of systems that disable the propulsion engine should the operator be unexpectedly displaced from the boat—and may include protection for passengers. It applies to all mechanically powered boats equipped with such a system.

Note that this is not a requirement to install engine cut-off devices, or for boat operators to employ them. However, the U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a proposed rule that operators of boats equipped with these systems must use them.

ABYC/ANS TE-30 Electric Propulsion Systems 2009
1st Publication
ABYC E-11, AC and DC Electrical Systems on Boats, is limited to the design, construction, and installation of DC systems that operate at a potential of 50V or less, and AC electrical systems that operate at frequencies of 50 Hz or 60 Hz, and less than 300V to extra-low voltage. But technologies for system voltages and frequencies greater than those allowed by E-11 are increasingly employed, especially in electrical propulsion systems. Standards used by other industries, such as automotive and light rail, have led to confusion about their propriety and applicability in a marine environment.

This Technical Information Report is a compilation of safety requirements of widely used national and international standards related to voltages and frequencies beyond those covered by E-11. It includes recommendations for the design, construction, and installation of electrical systems and components in high-voltage electric propulsion systems.

Two thousand ten promises to be a busy year for ABYC’s Project Technical Committees: more amendments and standards are in the works, and review of existing Standards and Technical Information Reports continues. Please contact ABYC’s technical department if you have comments about any of the standards, or if you’d like to participate in the PTC process and review of these standards.


About the Author: Eric Johnson is the American Boat & Yacht Council’s technical standards manager. He can be reached at 410–990–4460, ext. 24, or via e-mail at Eric Johnson.