Thursday, December 10, 2009

USCG Marine Safety Performance Plan Specific Safety Initiatives—recreational boating safety

Excerpt originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of the U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine as part of a special section—Capacity, Communication, Culture: The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Performance Plan.

Recreational boating is a fun and generally safe activity, yet each year some 700 boaters are lost and thousands more are injured. Recreational boating results in the third-highest annual number of transportation fatalities, and boating deaths are on the National Transportation Safety Board’s “Most Wanted” list.

To improve recreational boating safety, the Coast Guard is aggressively implementing a strategic plan developed in consultation with the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee.

Elements of the plan address:

Boating education. We will work with our partners to track the use and effectiveness of training and education courses.

Safety communications. We will act with key stakeholders and partners to improve safety communications and increase awareness of safe boating practices.

Safety equipment. We will increase boaters’ knowledge of required safety equipment and monitor trends for carriage.

Compliance with navigation rules.
The Coast Guard will collaborate with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and other boating safety partners to improve the awareness and enforcement of navigation rules.

Additional Safety Measures
We will aggressively work with our partners to increase life jacket wear rates. We will join forces to assess factors affecting life jacket usage, encourage availability of life jackets, and strengthen the enforcement regime. In addition, we will seek to curb boating under the influence. The Coast Guard will create a baseline measurement to track trends in alcohol use by boaters, assess the effectiveness of field sobriety penalties, and increase the effectiveness of enforcement.

Performance Measurement and Reporting
We will team with National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to pursue a Memorandum of Agreement with all federal land management agencies to ensure proper and timely accident reporting to state authorities.

Manufacturer Compliance Efforts
The Coast Guard will identify boats involved in accidents where carbon monoxide, flotation, capacity, or fuel systems are factors and enhance manufacturer understanding of USCG regulations. We will verify any non-compliance via a factory visit program, and ensure corrective actions are implemented.

For more information:
Full article and “Focus on Safety” edition of USCG Proceedings is available at Click on “archives” and then “2008 Vol. 65, Number 2” (Summer 2008).

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