National Safe Boating Week


May 19 - May 25, 2018 • 


 May 18th 2018 is Wear Your Lifejacket To Work Day 


Wear It!

 The Unites States Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety (CG-BSX) has a National Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Program. The 2017-2021 Strategic Plan is published on the webpage.

“Every year, more than 70 million Americans participate in recreational boating. Recreational boating has significant economic impacts and is an important part of the American heritage and culture.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG), the states, industry, organizations, and other members of the recreational boating safety community are pleased to report that boating is becoming safer over time. Since 1971, the year the United States Congress authorized creation of the National Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Program, the estimated number of recreational boats has more than doubled, while the number of reported boating casualties (the sum of deaths and injuries) has decreased by more than 50%. While this trend is impressive, more can be done. No one expects that someone in their family or community will be injured or killed in a boating accident. Yet each year, lives are still lost, adults and children are injured, and property is damaged. The good news is that by increasing boaters’ preparedness, safety education, and awareness, we can continue to decrease risk and evolve a culture of safety.”


Even with all the work being done by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, The United States Power Squadron and partner agencies the 2016 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics reflect a slight increase in the numbers of fatalities on the water.

 ·     Drowning was reported as the cause of death in 80% of all fatalities.

·        Approximately 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

·      In 2016, the Coast Guard counted 4,463 accidents that involved 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries and approximately $49 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

·       The fatality rate was 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 11.3% increase from last year’s (2015) fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

·     Only 13 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction.

·      Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed and machinery failure as the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.

·     Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, alcohol was listed as the leading factor in 15% of deaths.

·       Where data was known, the most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (47%), personal watercraft (18%), and cabin motorboats (15%).


The five Top Ranking States for boating deaths (in 2016) were:

1.     Florida: 70

2.     Texas: 53 

3.     California: 47

4.     Michigan: 38

5.     Louisiana: 24

“Despite historic reductions in fatality rates over the past 45 years, there are still significant opportunities for improvement. While most members of the boating public practice safe boating behaviors, gaps in individual preparedness and situational awareness remain. To advance the culture shift toward even safer recreational boat operator behavior, this plan includes three major priorities:

1.     1) Cultivate a boating public that is better prepared to engage in safer boating behaviors,

2.     2) Make better informed policy decisions by building and using highly-integrated systems to gather and evaluate data from many sources, and

3.     3) Nurture collaborative efforts among the stakeholders that benefit the boating public within the recreational boating safety community.”

Ownership of this Plan

“Federal law (46 U.S.C. 13110) mandated that the Secretary of the Department in which the USCG is operating establish the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) and consult with it on regulations and other major boating safety matters.

NBSAC’s 21 members are drawn from the states, industry, national recreational
boating organizations, and the public. This Coast Guard plan was developed collaboratively with the members of NBSAC and additional stakeholders of the National Recreational Boating Safety Program. All who want to decrease deaths and injuries of recreational boaters are invited to support this plan.”


For more information and details on the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan go to



Feel free to use National Safe Boating Week Audio PSAs for your local area.




Click here to download the NSBW Powerpoint 

This is an official United States Coast Guard Auxiliary website for the public’s information. Our postings do not endorse this site or anything on it, including links to other sites, and we disclaim responsibility and liability for the site and its content.