The Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday night to legislation that will require all commercial fishing vessels to carry basic life-saving equipment.

The legislation, already approved by the House, was endorsed by the Senate on a voice vote and sent to the White House."The average fishing vessel today is, plain and simple, an unsafe workplace accepted by a government which demands adherence to safety regulations in every other industry, but not in commercial fishing, the most dangerous industry," said Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., one of the bill's authors.

There are about 30,000 commercial fishing vessels in the United States, about 90 percent of them required to adhere to virtually no state or federal safety regulations.

The legislation will require the secretary of transportation to develop regulations for the installation, maintenance and proper use of emergency position-indicating beacons, lifeboats, exposure suits and signaling devices. Those are minimum safety requirements that the National Transportation Safety Board recommended to reduce fishing vessel casualties.