Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recreational Boating Safety Outreach.

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Alston Colihan, Technical Writer

The Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety administers a variety of educational outreach programs to help reduce the numbers of boating accidents, fatalities, injuries, and property damage involving recreational boats. Some examples include:

The Boat Factory Visit Program
Requires recreational boat manufacturers to self-certify compliance with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.

The credibility of that certification process is maintained by:

visits to domestic boat manufacturing plants to educate boat builders,
the authority to assess penalties against boat builders who are willfully non-compliant.

This program requires the manufacturer or importer to certify that each of its boats complies with federal safety standards. The Coast Guard does not require specific procedures to determine compliance, so the manufacturer may employ a third-party certification service, use an independent laboratory, or use the company’s in-house technical staff.

National Marine Manufacturers Association Yacht Certification Program
Offers member manufacturers’ boat inspections by third-party inspectors to certify compliance with Coast Guard safety standards and voluntary American Boat and Yacht Council standards.

Educational Efforts: New boat manufacturers are provided with a “Boatbuilder’s Handbook” CD, which contains information regarding the laws, regulations, and safety standards applicable to builders of recreational boats; copies of compliance guidelines and explanations for test procedures for each of the safety standards; and a variety of references concerning boat manufacturing, compliance testing, and the recreational boating product assurance program.

Visit Schedule: The Recreational Boating Factory Visit Program employs “compliance associates,” most of whom were former inspectors in the Coast Guard commercial vessel safety program.

The visit schedule is as follows:
annual visits to manufacturers whose boats are subject to most of the standards;
biennial visits to manufacturers whose boats are subject to some of the standards;
manufacturers of other boats that are excepted from the standards, such as canoe and kayak manufacturers, are visited at least once every three years.

These visits ensure that manufacturers understand the safety standards, know how to comply with them, and can inspect any boats under construction for compliance. In addition, boat manufacturers are also made aware of voluntary safety standards such as those published by the American Boat and Yacht Council.

Product Assurance Enforcement: The Coast Guard is exploring better coordination between the boating safety program and local Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection in the enforcement of civil penalties for recreational boat manufacturer violations.

The Recreational Boating Safety Visitation Program
Formerly known as the Marine Dealer Visitor Program, the program’s goal is to build long-lasting relationships with the recreational boating safety community as a whole.

PICTURED: A compliance associate inspects a boat’s wiring harness.

Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/fall2010.