US Coast Guard releases five year strategic plan for boaters

The US Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety has released the Strategic Plan of the National Recreational Boating Safety Program for 2017 to 2021.

This plan is the third in a series of five-year strategic plans and continues or updates boating safety initiatives and progress measurements that have proven successful over time, while closing gaps identified in the most recent review of strategic opportunities.

“This strategic plan is an important piece of the Coast Guard’s boating safety program,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy. “Over the next five years, the Coast Guard will work closely with representatives of national recreational boating safety organizations to implement the various elements of the plan.”

The plan includes three primary initiatives: improve and expand recreational boating education, training and outreach; update, leverage and enforce policies, regulations and standards; and improve and expand recreational boating data collection and research.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to boat responsibly while on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, attach your engine cut-off switch, get a free vessel safety check and avoid alcohol or other impairing substance consumption.

An extract from the foreword in the strategic plan:
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.

Read the Strategic Plan in full: USCG-strategic-plan-of-national-recreational-boating-safety-program-2017-2021

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