May 26, 2011
The following report was developed by Jim Muldoon, Chair of US SAILING’s Government Relations Committee. The information provides detail on current legislation and issues regarding boating safety that affects competitive and recreational sailors around the country. US SAILING independently monitors these developments to create and increase awareness for our members and the general sailing community.
National Safe Boating Week
As part of National Safe Boating Week (May 21 through May 27, 2011) the US Coast Guard announced that throughout the summer it along with other federal, state and local agencies, will be conducting safety boardings to ensure that recreational boaters have the necessary equipment to stay safe on the water. This boating safety initiative is part of a concerted effort to minimize the loss of life, personal injury, property damage and environmental impact associated with the use of recreational boats. Information on state and federal boating laws can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/regulations/default.aspx
USCG Proposal for Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund
President Gary Jobson sent a letter dated April 4, 2011 to RADM Kevin Cook pledging US SAILING’s support for the USCG’s work with the White House on the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Specifically, the letter requested that the reauthorization contain funding provisions that would help facilitate quality Office of Boating Safety operations, continue $6M in annual boating safety grant funding, provide much needed support to the States for marine safety initiatives and assist the office with implementation of its Strategic Plan with the goal of reducing deaths on the water.
NBSAC Resolution for USCG Investigation of Mandatory Lifejacket Wear
At its April 2011 meeting, the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC), recommended that the US Coast Guard initiate research on potential requirements for life jacket wear rules for recreational boaters while underway and riding in or upon a. personal watercraft regardless of length, b. human-powered vessels (such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, etc.) regardless of length, c. any vessel less than 18-feet in length, d. for any person towed while engaged in watersports. The resolution also recommended that the USCG work with its boating safety partners to design a strategy to engage the boating public on this topic in order to inform the public about the potential benefits of such a regulation, gauge public opinion about life jacket wear based on boating type and activity, and make decisions on this topic based on a thorough understanding of both public sentiment and potential benefits.
The resolution further recommended that the USCG prioritize addressing life jacket testing and approval processes with the aim of reducing the cost of comfortable life jackets through support of creative design/technology and expediting availability of new and improved life jacket models. Learn more at http://bit.ly/NBSAC_lifejacket.
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org .